On Jan. 6, 1975, “Wheel of Fortune,” the longest-running syndicated game show in American television, premieres on NBC. In over 7,000 episodes, show hostess Vanna White has never worn the same gown twice.
On Jan. 7, 1927, the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team travels west from Chicago to play their first game, in Hinckley, Illinois. Coach Abe Saperstein decided to promote his new team’s racial makeup by naming them after Harlem, the famous black neighborhood of New York City.
On Jan. 8, 1835, President Andrew Jackson achieves his goal of entirely paying off the United States’ national debt. It was the only time in U.S. history that the national debt stood at zero, and it precipitated one of the worst financial crises in American history, the Panic of 1837.
On Jan. 9, 1861, a Union merchant ship is fired upon as it tries to deliver supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, in the first exchange of shots between North and South. The shots were fired by gunner George E. Haynsworth, a cadet at The Citadel in Charleston.
On Jan. 10, 2008, Tata Motors in India debuts the Nano, billing it as the world’s cheapest car. The bubble-shaped mini-vehicle had a base price of $2,000. It had a body made of plastic and sheet metal — and one windshield wiper.
On Jan. 11, 1949, on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., the cornerstone is laid at the first mosque of note in the United States. The Islamic Center was complete with a 160-foot minaret from which prayers were to be announced.
On Jan. 12, 1932, Ophelia Wyatt Caraway of Arkansas becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate. Caraway had been appointed earlier to fill the vacancy left by her late husband, Thaddeus Horatio Caraway.