On Feb. 1, 1790, the U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York. (However, since only three of the six justices were present, the court recessed until the next day.)
In 1862, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a poem by Julia Ward Howe, was published in the Atlantic Monthly.
In 1865, abolitionist John S. Rock became the first Black lawyer admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In 1943, during World War II, one of America’s most highly decorated military units, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up almost exclusively of Japanese-Americans, was authorized.
In 1960, four Black college students began a sit-in protest at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, where they’d been refused service.
In 1959, men in Switzerland rejected giving women the right to vote by a more than 2-1 referendum margin. (Swiss women gained the right to vote in 1971.)
In 1979, Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (hoh-MAY’-nee) received a tumultuous welcome in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile.
In 1991, 34 people were killed when an arriving USAir jetliner crashed atop a commuter plane on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport.
In 1994, Jeff Gillooly, Tonya Harding’s ex-husband, pleaded guilty in Portland, Oregon, to racketeering for his part in the attack on figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in exchange for a 24-month sentence (he ended up serving six months) and a $100,000 fine.
In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry, killing all seven of its crew members: commander Rick Husband; pilot William McCool; payload commander Michael Anderson; mission specialists Kalpana Chawla, David Brown and Laurel Clark; and payload specialist Ilan Ramon (ee-LAHN’ rah-MOHN’), the first Israeli in space.
In 2011, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced he would not run for a new term in September elections but rejected protesters’ demands he step down immediately and leave the country, after a dramatic day in which a quarter-million Egyptians staged their biggest protest to date calling on him to go.
In 2016, the World Health Organization declared a global emergency over the explosive spread of the Zika virus, which was linked to birth defects in the Americas, calling it an “extraordinary event” that posed a public health threat to other parts of the world.
In 2020, as China’s death toll from the new coronavirus rose to 259, Beijing criticized Washington’s order barring entry to most foreigners who had visited China in the past two weeks. A World Health Organization official said governments needed to prepare for “domestic outbreak control.”