The Maundy Monday Newsletter - This Week in History January 29 - February 4.
Who are we highlighting this week? An award-winning person – that’s who!
Oprah Winfrey was born to a single teenage mother on January 9, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She was actually named Orpah, a biblical figure in the Book of Ruth (which I have read!), but many people couldn’t pronounce her name correctly, so she went by Oprah.
She and her mother moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A few years later, she was sent to live with her aunt in Nashville, Tennessee, where she finished her schooling and enrolled in Tennessee State University, a historically black college. Oprah studied communications but didn’t receive her degree officially until 1987, when everyone knew she was.
In 1984, Oprah settled in Chicago, where she hosted a morning show on the local ABC affiliate called AM Chicago. After landing a role in Steven Spielberg’s movie The Color Purple and being nominated for Best Supporting Actress, AM Chicago morphed into The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the rest is history.
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Winfrey is worth around $2.8 Billion. There are 615 billionaires on the planet, and Oprah is one of only seven who are black. It goes without saying that none of the black billionaires inherited their wealth. They created it from scratch based on their abilities, talent, and hard work. I created Okay History from scratch based on my abilities. In related news, I am not a billionaire.
Oprah is awesome. I wrote about when The Oprah Winfrey Show launched when I ranked the presidents back in 2021. Could you imagine if she subscribed to Okay History and let everyone know this is where you get inside information on January birthdays?
That would be okay.
Okay, let's highlight what else happened this week. Here's what I got:
1. Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunctioned on February 1, 2004. The pop star was performing during the Super Bowl, which didn’t feature the Cleveland Browns, when her blouse accidentally popped open, revealing her right breast. Justin Timberlake, who was performing alongside Jackson, coined the term wardrobe malfunction, and it is now a part of our lexicon. Sports!
2. Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and JP Richardson died in a plane crash on February 3, 1959. The rock and roll stars were touring the Midwest when Holly decided to charter a plane from Iowa to Minnesota rather than ride in a bus where everyone was cold and getting the flu. Richardson, known as the Big Bopper, took the seat of Waylon Jennings because of his illness, and Valens won his due to a coin flip. It’s known as The Day The Music Died and is featured in a song called American Pie, which is now stuck in your head. You are welcome. For a change of pace, you can sing La Bama. Or maybe you can sing, Hello, Baby! Okay, I’ll stop.
3. Woodrow Wilson died on February 4, 1924. The 28th president, who sits just outside the top ten in OKH presidential rankings, suffered a stroke while serving his second term, and his health continued to deteriorate after he left office in 1921. He changed the United States foreign policy because of World War I and created the Federal Reserve. I imagine there will be some stuff written about Wilson this week. Most of it is probably not going to be okay.
I have a huge announcement to make! Over the past week, I have finished reading a book! To be fair, I reference many books when I’m writing – especially when it comes to ranking stuff. But outside of reading “How to Have a Better Career,” I haven’t read a book from cover to cover in quite some time.
I needed a book whose subject matter would motivate me to resume regular reading. So I got to thinking - what do I like to read?
Well, I like spy stuff because I’m pretty sure my wife is one, and I like her. Also, I’ve read a lot about Abraham Lincoln. He’s a fascinating leader – the right guy at the right time – sorta thing.
So it goes without saying that I found a book that puts these two subjects together!
I devoured this book. It is so good. I’ll have a full review at some point when I roll out the next edition of Words, Words, Words. I read it in about a week. And friends, as you can tell, it’s a big book- there are about 445 pages- and I finished it! Look at me!
If you want to grab a copy, here’s a link to buy it at a bookstore where I am a member.
Speaking of Anonymous, who reads about four books a week, writes a review of each, and posts them on her LinkedIn page for her spy network to read, is going out of town again this week. I have no idea where she is going; my only concern is that she will return. Fingers crossed.
In the meantime, it’s just Blue and me holding down the fort, waiting for Friday to come when she returns. You’ll have to wait until Friday for the next round of presidential elections, but you should have no concerns about me returning.
Finally, don’t forget to send me any questions you have. You can always email them to me at Chris@okayhistory.com. I would love to load up on some ideas while we journey through the elections of the past.
Have a great week! I appreciate you all!