This Week in History, Jan 12 - Jan 18
Jan 12, 1926
Original Amos 'n' Andy debuts on Chicago radio. On this day in 1926, the two-man comedy series "Sam 'n' Henry" debuts on Chicago's WGN radio station. Two years later, after changing its name to "Amos 'n' Andy," the show became one of the most popular radio programs in American history. Though the creators and the stars of the new radio program, Freeman Gosden and Charles Carrell, were both white, the characters they played were two black men from the Deep South who moved to Chicago to seek their fortunes. By that time, white actors performing in dark stage makeup--or "blackface"--had been a significant tradition in American theater for over 100 years. Gosden and Carrell, both vaudeville performers, were doing a Chicago comedy act in blackface when an employee at the Chicago Tribune suggested they create a radio show.
Jan 13, 1128
Pope recognizes Knights Templar. On this day in 1128, Pope Honorius II grants a papal sanction to the military order known as the Knights Templar, declaring it to be an army of God. Led by the Frenchman Hughes de Payens, the Knights Templar organization was founded in 1118. Its self-imposed mission was to protect Christian pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land during the Crusades, the series of military expeditions aimed at defeating Muslims in Palestine. The Templars took their name from the location of their headquarters, at Jerusalem's Temple Mount. For a while, the Templars had only nine members, mostly due to their rigid rules. In addition to having noble birth, the knights were required to take strict vows of poverty, obedience and chastity. In 1127, new promotional efforts convinced many more noblemen to join the order, gradually increasing its size and influence.
Jan 14, 1875
Albert Schweitzer born. The theologian, musician, philosopher and Nobel Prize-winning physician Albert Schweitzer is born on this day in 1875 in Upper-Alsace, Germany (now Haut-Rhin, France). The son and grandson of ministers, Schweitzer studied theology and philosophy at the universities of Strasbourg, Paris and Berlin. After working as a pastor, he entered medical school in 1905 with the dream of becoming a missionary in Africa. Schweitzer was also an acclaimed concert organist who played professional engagements to earn money for his education. By the time he received his M.D. in 1913, the overachieving Schweitzer had published several books, including the influential The Quest for the Historical Jesus and a book on the composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
Jan 15, 1967
Packers face Chiefs in first Super Bowl. On this day in 1967, at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the first-ever world championship game of American football. In the mid-1960s, the intense competition for players and fans between the National Football League (NFL) and the upstart American Football League (AFL) led to talks of a possible merger. It was decided that the winners of each league's championship would meet each year in a single game to determine the "world champion of football."
Jan 16, 1919
Prohibition takes effect. The 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting the "manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes," is ratified on this day in 1919 and becomes the law of the land. The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level and calling for total national abstinence. In December 1917, the 18th Amendment, also known as the Prohibition Amendment, was passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.
Jan 17, 1950
Boston thieves pull off historic robbery. On this day in 1950, 11 men steal more than $2 million from the Brinks Armored Car depot in Boston, Massachusetts. It was the perfect crime--almost--as the culprits weren't caught until January 1956, just days before the statute of limitations for the theft expired. The robbery's mastermind was Anthony "Fats" Pino, a career criminal who recruited a group of 10 other men to stake out the depot for 18 months to figure out when it held the most money. Pino's men then managed to steal plans for the depot's alarm system, returning them before anyone noticed they were gone.
Jan 18, 1919
Post-World War I peace conference begins in Paris. On this day in Paris, France, some of the most powerful people in the world meet to begin the long, complicated negotiations that would officially mark the end of the First World War. Leaders of the victorious Allied powers--France, Great Britain, the United States and Italy--would make most of the crucial decisions in Paris over the next six months. For most of the conference, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson struggled to support his idea of a "peace without victory" and make sure that Germany, the leader of the Central Powers and the major loser of the war, was not treated too harshly. On the other hand, Prime Ministers Georges Clemenceau of France and David Lloyd George of Britain argued that punishing Germany adequately and ensuring its weakness was the only way to justify the immense costs of the war. In the end, Wilson compromised on the treatment of Germany in order to push through the creation of his pet project, an international peacekeeping organization called the League of Nations.