Wednesday’s History: January 13
Today, January 13, in history includes the first African-American U.S. cabinet member, a plane crashes near the White House, and Michael Jordan retires again, according to history.com.
President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Robert C. Weaver to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 1966. Weaver is the first African-American cabinet member appointed. HUD enforces fair housing laws.
Weaver advocated for the Fair Housing Act in 1968, which prohibits discrimination against any person from buying or renting a dwelling or business due to race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin.
In the 1930s, Weaver advised the secretary of the interior under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was appointed to the National Defense Advisory Commission in 1940. Weaver was rent commissioner in New York from 1955-59, and under President John F. Kennedy was head of the Housing and Home Financing Agency.
In 1982, Air Florida Boeing 727, with 74 passengers and five crew members, went from Florida to the Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, and was to fly back; however, snow closed the airport. After the storm passed, the plane was de-iced and with difficulty began moving toward the runway. There it waited nearly an hour before taking off and during that time ice began to build up.
Thirty seconds and less than a mile from the airport, the plane crashed into a bridge, falling into the freezing waters of the Potomac River where 73 passengers died, leaving six survivors. Four motorists also died.
A police helicopter arrived to assist in the rescue. One passenger, Arland Williams, passed the life lines to other passengers. Lenny Skutnik jumped in the water to assist. Williams died by drowning. Skutnik, Williams and Roger Olian received the Coast Guard Lifesaving Medal. The bridge was renamed the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge.
In the 1984 draft, Michael Jordan entered the NBA in his junior year at the University of North Carolina and was drafted by the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan and the Bulls won three NBA finals. Jordan retired in 1993 after his father was murdered. The NBA was also investigating him for illegally betting, of which Jordan was cleared.
He then signed with the Chicago White Sox and was assigned to their minor league team. Not doing very well, Jordan returned to basketball in 1995. The Bulls and Jordan returned to the NBA finals from 1996-98.
Michael Jordan retired a second time in 1999. Jordan became part owner of the Washington Wizards in 2000. At 38, he came out of retirement to play for the team. He retired a third time in April 2003.