1. In 1811, the first steamboat in Indiana, the New Orleans, arrived in Vincennes on January 8th. This marked a shift in transportation and commerce in the state as steamboats became an increasingly popular mode of travel and shipping.
2. On January 8th, 1820, the Indiana General Assembly passed a law allowing free Black males who had been in the state for at least six months to petition for their freedom. This was a significant step towards ending slavery in Indiana.
3. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. visited Indiana on January 8th, 1959, giving a speech at Indiana University. This was not his only visit to the state, as he returned several times throughout his career to speak and organize for various causes.
4. In 1973, record-low temperatures were recorded in Indiana on January 8th, with many areas experiencing temperatures below -30 degrees Fahrenheit. This extreme cold caused widespread damage to crops and livestock, and led to dangerous conditions for those working or travelling outside.
5. Basketball legend Larry Bird was born on January 8th, 1956 in West Baden Springs, Indiana. Bird went on to become one of the greatest players in NBA history, leading the Boston Celtics to three championships and earning numerous awards and honors throughout his career.
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