January Factoids

January 1-31

January is Mentor Month

Mentoring.org recognizes January as Mentor Month to celebrate and honor those who sacrifice their time to curate and mold future generations. These mentors can be formal ones through the organization or informal ones including teachers, parents, role-models, etc. The organization plans events throughout the month to help raise awareness for the importance of mentoring youth and giving praise to those who dedicate time and energy to being someone’s role-model. The holiday was launched in 2002 to focus national attention on the positive effects of mentoring on youth and hopefully recruit more adults to begin mentoring.

Did you know Benjamin Elijah Mays was Martin Luther King, Jr's mentor? (SC Hall of Fame) 


National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month


January Observances (Day)

Click on a date below to find more factoids and related content.

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New Year's Day


Amateur archaeologist Mike Bramlett discovered several of the "stick figure" petroglyphs on a rainy winter day January 1, 2003. (A Natural State)

Spanish Flu Pandemic

In January 1918, a deadly strain of Influenza known as the "Spanish Flu", or H1N1 began sweeping the globe. The Spanish Flu Pandemic took its toll worldwide; infecting mainly young adults. South Carolina, like the rest of the world, was affected. Learn more about the 1918 Flu Pandemic in South Carolina. (History In A Nutshell)

World Day of Peace

World Day of Peace invites all people to reflect upon the important work of building peace. Visit our World Day of Peace and International Day of Peace Collection. 

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National Personal Trainer Awareness Day 

A day to appreciate those who help to keep us in good physical condition. Check out these resources for ways to improve your physical fitness today! 


National Science Fiction Day

Science fiction fans dedicate January 2 to celebrate the vast genre and to honor science fiction writer Isaac Asimov who famously wrote I, Robot and the Foundation series. It is recognized by the Hallmark channel and fans of the genre who take the day to read, watch and listen to science fiction media. Listen to Orson Welles’ broadcast of The War of the Worlds (Artopia)

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National Trivia Day

January 4 is a holiday dedicated to trivia, the collection of unorganized dates, themes, facts and subjects, made popular by the game Trivial Pursuit, which actually came out a year after the holiday was launched in 1980.

  • To celebrate this day, visit our Knowitall Factoids by Month and learn from a wide assortment of topics.
  • Check out our Trivia Quizzes for each episode of History In A Nutshell! The Trivia Quiz for January's History In A Nutshell on the 1918 Flu Pandemic is here 

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Space Shuttle

On January 5, 1972, President Richard Nixon signs a bill approving $6.6 billion for NASA to design, build, and test the space shuttle. The space shuttle would be in operation for over thirty years, beginning in 1981. Take a tour of the space shuttle! (Project Discovery)

National Bird Day

Born Free USA dedicates January 5 to raising awareness for the endangered birds in our ecosystems and to encouraging lovers of the animal to not look at birds through a cage, but out in the wild where they belong. The holiday is celebrated by bird lovers, bird watchers and those who study birds. The organization that devotes its resources to protecting and disseminating information about endangered species hopes that this day will remind people of the wild animals that birds are and remember to respect them.

National Screenwriters Day

“To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script and the script.”– Alfred Hitchcock, Director.

This holiday is bolstered by a social media campaign to celebrate the most important asset to Hollywood – the screenwriter. The organization tries to change the way the public views the creative process in filmmaking. Screenwriters are the creative muscle behind the operation, when a common misconception is that it all comes from the director.

View Pauline Kael from Writer's Workshop. Pauline Kael (June 19, 1919 – September 3, 2001) Looking back on her personal history as a writer, Kael offers some useful advice for aspiring screenwriters, and she has some strong views on the connection between writing and reading.

View Nora Ephron from Writer's Workshop. Ephron (May 19, 1941 – June 26, 2012) was an American journalist, writer, and filmmaker, best known for her romantic comedy films like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle. 

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National Technology Day

Use technology to broaden your interests and drill down in our Series, Collections or Subject Areas to learn more!



Battle of New Orleans

Future President Andrew Jackson led American forces to victory at the Battle of New Orleans, on January 8, 1815. Both American and British combatants were not aware of the declaration of peace with the Treaty of Ghent, signed just two weeks earlier. (History of SC Slide Collection)

National Career Coach Day

View our Career Explorations Collection to learn about careers in numerous fields!


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Law Enforcement Appreciation Day

Also known as L.E.A.D., this holiday was created to show appreciation for the police officers that risk their safety for their job. Celebrate your local law enforcement or visit some stories we have gathered on our Law Enforcement Appreciation Day collection.

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National Cut Your Energy Costs Day

National Save the Eagles Day

  • View our content on eagles by using the search term eagle.


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National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Human Trafficking Awareness Day is recognized each year in the U.S. on January 11. The goal is to bring attention to human trafficking and modern-day slavery.

Anthropologist Joe Opala has studied the history of slavery from the African side of the ocean. He has tracked a remarkable series of connections that end in Charleston and trace back to Africa. Bunce Island, a quarter-mile long island, twenty miles from Freetown, was the furthest point inland where slave ships could travel without being grounded, and was the location from which Africans were boarded on ships and taken to Charleston and the slave market. A reading from the diary of Anna Marie Falkenbridge reveals her observations, on looking through a window at the back of the manor house that stood on the island and was the home of the chief agent, who became wealthy from the trafficking of human beings. John Newton, a slave ship captain, later denounced slavery, became a clergyman in England, and wrote "Amazing Grace." 

*** If you believe you know of someone who may be a victim of human trafficking, please contact local law enforcement or the NHTRC (National Human Trafficking Resource Center) Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. *** 



National Pharmacist Day

January 12 is recognized nationally as a day to honor pharmacists of all specialties and to celebrate their great impact in the community and medical industry. They are a crucial step in making patients healthy and are some of the most trusted professionals in the U.S., according to a Gallup Poll. 

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Harvey Gantt

Harvey Gantt was born on January 14, 1943 and was the first African-American student to be admitted to Clemson University. (Road Trip)

Mary Boykin Chestnut

Mary Boykin Chesnut's diary entry from January 14, 1865. She describes the terror of Sherman’s March through the South. (Idella Bodie's SC Women)

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First African American Student at Clemson University

On January 16, 1963, the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered Clemson University to admit Harvey Gantt, who became its first African American student. (Road Trip)


Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King Day is celebrated on the third Monday in January. 

View our Martin Luther King Collection
View our African American History Collection

Knowitall's African American History Collection provides these resources—all in one place! View them now for Martin Luther King Day and in February for African American History Month.


South Carolina Legislature

Every year, the S.C. House and Senate convene on the second Tuesday of January (Let's Go!)

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Battle of Cowpens

On January 17, 1781, during the American Revolution, General Daniel Morgan's patriots faced off against Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton's loyalist forces at the Battle of Cowpens. This battle resulted in the turning of the tide for the patriots in the South. To this day, Gen. Morgan's tactics at this battle are regarded as military genius, and are still studied by cadets at Westpoint.   (Southern Campaign)

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Cindy Sherman

​Filmmaker Cindy Sherman was born on January 19, 1954 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey (Artopia)

Edgar Allan Poe

Author Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts. Poe is most well known for his short stories and poems, featuring dark, macabre, and suspenseful themes. (Poetry All-Stars) 

Poe also spent time in Charleston, S.C., where he served as an artillery-man at Fort Moultrie, under the pseudo-nym Edgar Allan "Perry." (South Carolina Focus)

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Penguin Awareness Day

This strange holiday was created to raise awareness for a group of animals that are rapidly disappearing. The 18 different species of penguin are some of the most coveted animals, however their habitats are diminishing as well as their population. This day is to inspire people to research more about penguins and get the public conversation brewing about these little creatures.

Learn about African Penguins (Zoo Minutes) or join D.V. from Eye Wonder for this episode on penguins.

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National Celebration of Life Day

Spend time with children, demonstrating your care and love for them.



Library Shelfie Day






Australia Day

Australia Day is an official Australian holiday was created to commemorate the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the raising of the Union Flag by Arthur Phillip. However, the celebrations that take place in present day focus on celebrating not only Australian history but the diverse populations and landscape. Celebrations take place all over the country where festivals and award ceremony are observed.

General Douglas MacArthur

General Douglas MacArthur was born on January 26, 1880, on a military base in Little Rock, Arkansas. MacArthur commanded Allied forces, and played a crucial role in the victory of the Pacific theater of World War Two. Several South Carolina veterans recall their memories of General MacArthur. (SCETV Series and Specials: South Carolinians In WWII)

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Apollo I

On January 27, 1967, tragedy struck when astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee lost their lives during the Apollo 1 "Plugs Out" test. The "Plugs Out" test was a simulation to check whether or not the Apollo spacecraft could operate under its own power. Frayed wiring caused a spark to ignite the 100% pure oxygen environment inside the spacecraft, and the three astronauts died by asphyxiation. The lessons learned from Apollo 1 during the "Space Race" enabled the U.S. to finish first to the moon. (History In A Nutshell)

International Holocaust Remembrance Day 

This day is marked by the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. The United Nations encourages people to use this day to remember and commemorate those six million Jewish people who were victims of the Holocaust and encourages organizations to develop educational opportunity to help the public remember this travesty as the years tick on separating the present day farther and farther from the Holocaust. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum celebrates this holiday by hosting a commemoration ceremony where international leaders and survivors come together to honor the victims and remember the events of the Holocaust.

View the Holocaust Remembrance Collection.

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Alice Neel

Painter Alice Neel was born on January 28, 1900 in Merion Square, Pennsylvania. (Artopia)

Jackson Pollock

Painter Jackson Pollock was born on January 28, 1912 in Cody, Wyoming. (Artopia)

Ronald McNair

Ronald McNair was one of the shuttle astronauts killed in the Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986.(SC Hall of Fame). View a segment  from the Shuttle Challenger Special that aired that night on South Carolina ETV's Carolina Journal, including an interview with Ethel Bolden and a brief history of NASA space exploration and reflections on Ron McNair

National Kazoo Day

National Kazoo Day occurs annually on or about January 28. The kazoo was invented in the 1840's and presented to the world at the 1852 Georgia State Fair in 1852 as the "Down South Submarine."

Kazoobie Kazoos, located in Beaufort, South Carolina, is America's only full-time kazoo factory. (ETV Shorts)

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Anton Chekhov

Playwright Anton Chekhov was born in a Russian seaport town on January 29, 1860.  (Artopia)

National Puzzle Day

January 29 is National Puzzle Day. Try exercising your brain with a brain teaser or puzzle. (NASA)

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National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day

Observed on January 31, National Inspire Your Heart with Art Day, is a day meant to bring awareness to the importance of art in everyday life.

View our Visual Arts content under the Visual & Performing Arts Subject Area on KnowItAll!


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Revised by Eva Chillaru, 2021 ETV Endowment Intern, June 2021




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