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5 Fun Facts About January 2 In Washington History

---Learn Every Day: WA Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history wa To: 618-270-4005---

1. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, officially freeing slaves in Confederate-controlled areas. Though it did not immediately emancipate all slaves, it was seen as a major step towards the abolition of slavery in America.

2. In 1920, the federal government officially began enforcing the prohibition of alcohol, after the 18th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. This led to the rise of organized crime and speakeasies throughout the country.

3. In 1942, the Navy commissioned its first African American officer, Samuel L. Gravely Jr. Gravely went on to become a trailblazer for African Americans in the Navy, eventually rising to the rank of admiral.

4. In 1974, President Richard Nixon signed a bill raising the national speed limit to 55 mph in an effort to conserve fuel during the oil crisis. The law remained in place until 1995 when it was abolished.

5. In 2006, former Washington governor John Spellman died at the age of 91. Spellman served as governor from 1981 to 1985 and was known for his emphasis on environmental issues and for creating a statewide recycling program.
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