Every day of the year, something exciting, notable, or just downright strange has happened in Alabama history.
Scroll down and check out what happened THIS week.
January 23, 1957
Four white members of the Ku Klux Klan forced Willie Edwards Jr to jump to his death from the Tyler-Goodwin Bridge near Montgomery. A twenty-four-year-old black deliveryman, Edwards was on his way to work when he was abducted by the Klansmen, who mistook him for another man believed to be dating a white woman. Despite a 1976 confession from Raymond Britt Jr in exchange for immunity and a 1993 deathbed confession from Henry Alexander, none of the Klansmen were ever convicted for the murder.
January 24, 1935
Artist Dale Kennington, who moved to Dothan six months later, was born in Georgia. Best known for her contemporary realist paintings that combine scenes of everyday life into fictional events, Kennington has achieved fame both nationally and abroad. Her paintings, which have been featured in fifteen solo museum exhibitions, are held in a number of museum collections, including the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, the Mobile Museum of Art, and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio. Kennington was awarded the Governor’s Arts Award by the Alabama State Council on the Arts in 2011.
January 25, 1899
Civil rights activist and minister Solomon Seay Sr. was born in Macon County. Seay was referred to as the “spiritual leader” of the civil rights movement by Martin Luther King Jr and played a significant role in a number of civil rights efforts across the Southeast. In Alabama, Seay served on a number of organizations, including the Montgomery Improvement Association (becoming the organization’s third president), was a defendant in the New York Times v. Sullivan US Supreme Court case, and advised King on the development of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference while working as minister of the Mount Zion AME Church in Montgomery.
January 26, 2005
Birmingham native Condoleezza Rice became the first African American woman to hold the position of Secretary of State. Rice—who also served on the administration of George H. W. Bush as a Soviet analyst and advisor on the National Security Council—was first hired by George W. Bush to provide foreign policy advice during his presidential campaign and was appointed National Security Advisor after his election. In 2012, Rice became one of the first two women admitted to the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia and, in 2013, was selected as a member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee.
January 27, 1814
Approximately 1,300 Red Stick warriors attacked Gen. John Floyd and his army of nearly 1,700 just before dawn in the Battle of Calabee Creek near present-day Tuskegee. Floyd’s army—who had stopped to camp near the creek on their way to several Red Stick towns on the Tallapoosa River—was taken completely by surprise and nearly routed in the assault that killed 25 and injured about 150. The battle effectively ended Georgia’s involvement in the Creek War of 1813-14 as Floyd soon marched his weakened army home, where their terms of enlistment soon expired.
January 28, 1983
More than 100,000 fans lined the streets between Tuscaloosa and Birmingham for the funeral of Paul Bear Bryant, who died two days earlier at the age of sixty-nine. Bryant coached in his last game on December 29, 1982, with a 21-15 victory over the University of Illinois in the Liberty Bowl—ending his career with 323 wins. Bryant, who won six national championships at the University of Alabama, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan on February 23, 1983.
January 29, 1943
The USS Birmingham (CL-62) was commissioned by the US Navy. A light cruiser of the Cleveland class, the Birmingham saw action in both the Mediterranean and Pacific theaters of World War II, suffered heavy damage on three occasions, and earned nine battle stars for her service. The ship was the second of three Navy vessels to bear the name of the Steel City—the first being an armored scout cruiser of the Chester class that sailed from 1908 to 1923, and the third being a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine that served from 1977-1997.