Today is Friday, Jan. 31, the 31st day of 2020. There are 335 days left in the year.
On Jan. 31, 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite, Explorer 1, from Cape Canaveral.
On this date:
In 1863, during the Civil War, the First South Carolina Volunteers, an all-black Union regiment composed of many escaped slaves, was mustered into federal service at Beaufort, South Carolina.
In 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery, sending it to states for ratification. (The amendment was adopted in December 1865.) Gen. Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of the Confederate States Army by President Jefferson Davis.
In 1919, baseball Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia.
In 1945, Pvt. Eddie Slovik, 24, became the first U.S. soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion as he was shot by an American firing squad in France.
In 1950, President Harry S. Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.
In 1971, astronauts Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa…