A Look Ahead | January 2019

The month of January brings important milestones to mark in a Social Studies class.

January 1: In 1776, George Washington unveils America’s first national flag, the Grand Union Flag.

In 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation frees slaves in the Confederate states.

In 1892, Ellis Island in New York Harbor opens. More than 20 million new citizens pass through on their way to a life in America.

Click here for immigration resources

January 3, 1959: Alaska becomes the 49th state.

January 4, 1790: President George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address.

Government materials are here

January 5, 1925: Wyoming’s Nellie Tayloe Ross becomes the first woman U.S. governor.

January 9, 1960: Work begins on the Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in Egypt. The dam creates Lake Nasser, one of the world’s largest reservoirs, and irrigates over 100,000 acres of desert. It opens in 1971.

Check out geography and more

January 10, 1776: Thomas Paine publishes Common Sense. It sells more than 500,000 copies in America and Europe, and influences the authors of the Declaration of Independence.

Get your copy here

1870: The first use of a donkey to symbolize the Democratic Party appears in a cartoon.

January 21: Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemorates and celebrates MLK, born January 15, 1929. As Coretta Scott King wrote, “The Holiday provides a unique opportunity to teach young people to fight evil, not people, to get in the habit of asking themselves, ‘what is the most loving way I can resolve this conflict?’” 

Explore Civil Rights materials here

January 23, 1849: Elizabeth Blackwell becomes America’s first woman doctor.

1907: Charles Curtis, of Kansas, is the first person of Native American ancestry elected to the Senate. He becomes Herbert Hoover’s vice president in 1929.

January 24, 1848: There’s gold in them thar hills! The California Gold Rush begins with an accidental discovery at John Sutter’s sawmill.

January 27, 1945: The Russian Army liberates Auschwitz, a Polish concentration camp where Nazis murdered an estimated 2,000,000 people.

In 1973, the Paris Peace Accord ends U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Learn more about Vietnam

The STS-51L crewmembers are: in the back row from left to right: Mission Specialist, Ellison S. Onizuka, Teacher in Space Participant Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Greg Jarvis and Mission Specialist, Judy Resnik. In the front row from left to right: Pilot Mike Smith, Commander, Dick Scobee and Mission Specialist, Ron McNair.

January 28, 1986: Space shuttle Challenger explodes, killing seven, including Teacher in Space Christa McAuliffe. 

Fun Historical Date of January:

January 28 is Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day. 
Invented in 1957, bubble wrap wasn’t a “eureka” moment. The creators sealed two shower curtains together, creating air bubbles, which they originally tried to sell as wallpaper. It turned out to be—surprise!—unsuccessful. But by 1960, its use as a packing material was discovered and stress relief is now delivered to your door.

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