|◄ JANUARY ►|
|◄ 1959 ►|
|President:||Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)|
|Vice-President:||Richard M. Nixon (R)|
|House:||282 (D)||153 (R)||1 (Other)|
|Southern states:||100 (D)||6 (R)|
|Senate:||64 (D)||34 (R)|
|Southern states:||22 (D)|
|GDP growth:||9.2 %||(Annual)|
|Fed discount rate:||2½ %|
Jan 1: Hours after Cuban rebels seize Santiago de Cuba and Santa Clara, President Fulgencio Batista flees to the Dominican Republic as rebel forces close in on Havana. He is believed to have packed $300 million on the plane before taking off. Before leaving, Batista names Supreme Court judge Carlos Piedra as the luckless caretaker President. Piedra’s first act is to order government forces to lay down their arms.
Jan 2: As Fidel Castro’s forces roll into Havana, Castro names Dr. Manuel Urrutia Lleo as President of Cuba. Urrutia will be quickly sidelined as a figurehead. He will resign in July and seek asylum in the Venezuelan embassy before settling in the U.S.
Jan 10: The U.S. District Court in Atlanta orders the University System of Georgia to integrate its segregated colleges. The court strikes down the requirements that at least two college alumni had to sign for a student in order to enroll.
Jan 21: Carl Switzer, the former child actor known as “Alfalfa” in the Little Rascals film series, is shot and killed during a fight over a claimed debt. The shooter will be cleared as acting in self-defense. Switzer was 31.
Jan 29: The afternoon is dark as midnight as a dense grey-green smog envelopes London, Manchester and Birmingham. With visibility of only one to two feet in broad daylight, this smog is even thicker than the Great Smog of 1952. Shifting winds will dissipate this smog after only three days.
Jan 29: The Walt Disney film Sleeping Beauty is released. Also released is the Disney short Grand Canyon, which features the music of Ferde Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite and will win an Oscar for Best Documentary Short.