For the week of Jan. 18-24
1856—Daniel Hale Williams is born in Hollidaysburg, Pa. He became a pioneering surgeon and is generally credited with performing the first open heart surgery. He was a strong advocate of the emerging antiseptic and sterilization procedures of his day. He believed that many patients died or became ill in the hospital because of a lack of cleanliness. Williams’ open heart surgery which occurred July 10, 1893 when he repaired a knife wound to the chest of James Cornish. The operation was a success and Cornish lived another 20 years.
1918—The founder of Ebony and Jet magazines, John H. Johnson, is born on this day in Arkansas City, Ark. Shortly after the death of his father, Johnson’s mother moved the family to Chicago where Johnson attended high school during the day and read self-help books at night, laying the intellectual and motivational foundation for the eventual building of his publishing empire. Interestingly, among Johnson’s classmates at Chicago’s DuSable High School were Nate King Cole, Redd Foxx and future businessman, William Abernathy.