November 5

Victoria Gray Adams (November 5, 1926 – August 12, 2006) led voter education classes for the black population of Hattiesburg, Mississippi in the early sixties and was a field secretary for SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee). She was a founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and along with Fannie Lou Hamer and Annie Devine led the 70-member contingent that attempted to be seated at the 1964 Democratic National Convention. She was also one of the chief organizers of COFO (Council of Federated Organizations), an umbrella group that enabled civil rights groups working in the south at that time to share resources and talents. She later taught at the Royal Thai Army Languages Academy in Bangkok, Thailand and at Virginia State University, where she was also Director of Campus Ministry.


Willis Richardson (November 5, 1889 - November 7, 1977) wrote "The Chip Woman’s Fortune", which in 1923 became the first non-musical written by an African American to appear on Broadway. Although he worked full-time at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving from his graduation from "M" Street High School in Washington, D.C. until his retirement in 1954, he was an award-winning playwright and a pivotal figure of the Harlem Renaissance. He won first prize in Crisis’ plays category for “Boot-Black Lover” and won the Edith Schwab Cup at Yale University for “The Broken Banjo.” Richardson also compiled the 1930 anthology Plays and Pageants from the Life of the Negro at the request of Carter G. Woodson and followed it five years later with. Negro History in Thirteen Plays.

James Herman Banning (November 5, 1900 – February 5, 1933), accompanied by mechanic Thomas C. Allen, became America's first African American aviator to fly coast-to-coast. They made the 3,300 mile trip from Los Angeles, California to Long Island, New York in 41 hours and 27 minutes aloft. However, the trip actually required 21 days to complete because the pilots had to raise money for the next leg of the trip each time they stopped. Four months later, Banning was fatally injured in a crash at an airshow in San Diego. He was pulled from the wreckage and died an hour later.

Etta Moten Barnett (November 5, 1901-January 1, 2004) sang at the birthday party for President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 31, 1943, becoming the first African-American to perform at the White House. She performed “Remember My Forgotten Man,” which she also sang in the movie Gold Diggers of 1933, although she was not listed in the credits. A conaltro vocalist, she was best known for her starring role in the 1942 revival of Porgy and Bess on Broadway. After her performing career, Barnett was active in Chicago as a major philanthropist and civic activist, raising funds for and supporting cultural, social and church institutions. She was married to Claude Barnett, founder of the Associated Negro Press.

Theodore M. (Ted) Berry (November 5, 1905 – October 15, 2000) graduated from the University of Cincinnati law school and six years later was appointed the first African American assistant prosecuting attorney for Hamilton County. During World War II, he served in the Office of War Information as a morale officer. In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson appointed him to head the Office of Economic Opportunity's Community Action Programs that included Head Start, the Job Corps and Legal Services. Berry was active in the NAACP throughout  his life, serving as president of the Cincinnati branch and on the Ohio Committee for Civil Rights Legislation. He was first elected to the Cincinnati city council in 1949 and elected mayor in 1972.

Chauncey E. Spencer (November 5, 1906 - August 21, 2002) was a founder of the National Airmen Association of America, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, and after World War II served as Civilian Personnel Employment Relations Officer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Because of his work for integration he was accused of being a Communist in 1953. He was suspended for five months but was cleared of all charges, and later transferred from Wright-Patterson AFB to Norton AFB in California. After leaving the Air Force in 1960, he served as police commissioner of San Bernardino, California and deputy administrator of Highland Park, Michigan.

Izear Luster "Ike" Turner, Jr. (November 5, 1931 - December 12, 2007)  was a musician, bandleader, songwriter, arranger, talent scout, and record producer. In a career that lasted more than half a century, his repertoire included blues, soul, rock, and funk. He is most popularly known for his 1960s work with his then wife Tina Turner in the Ike & Tina Turner revue. Throughout his career he won two Grammy Awards and was nominated for three others. With his former wife, Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991 and in 2001 was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.


On November 5, 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Buchanan v. Warley that a Louisville, Kentucky, city ordinance prohibiting the sale of real property to African Americans violated the 14th Amendment, reversing the ruling of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Unlike prior state court rulings that had overturned racial zoning ordinances due to those ordinances' failures to grandfather land owned prior to enactment, the Court in Buchanan ruled that the motive for the Louisville ordinance, race, was an insufficient purpose to make the prohibition constitutional.

On November 5, 1956 The Nat King Cole Show debuted on NBC. The variety program was the first of its kind hosted by an African American, which created controversy at the time. Beginning as a 15-minute pops show on Monday night, it expanded to a half hour in July 1957. Despite the efforts of NBC, as well as many of Cole's industry colleagues who worked for industry scale (or even for no pay) in order to help the show save money, it was ultimately cancelled due to the lack of a national sponsor.

On November 5, 1968, Shirley Chisholm was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, the first African American woman to serve there. She represented New York's 12th Congressional District for seven terms from 1969 to 1983, and was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971.

On November 5, 981, Charles Fuller's A Soldier's Play premiered at Theatre Four, New York City by the Negro Ensemble Company under the direction of Douglas Turner Ward, and won a Pulitzer price from drama the following year. It was produced as the 1984 film A Soldier's Story, with Fuller also writing the screenplay, which was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Writers Guild of America Award, and it won an Edgar Award. The play is set in Louisiana near the end of World War II where a black officer is sent to investigate the murder of a black sergeant.

Photo Gallery

“Flora is full of vim, with remarkably retentive memory.” | Portrait of FLORA STEWART, a 117-year-old FORMER SLAVE, November 5, 1867. A.W. Kimball, New Hampshire, photographer Randolph Linsly Simpson African-American collection Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Manuscript Library

An African American infantry unit marching near Verdun, France, November 5, 1918. U.S. Army Signal Corps photograph.

Obama embraces Michelle Obama with a hug the day before the
2012 Elections on November 5, 2012. [Photo: Getty Images]


Jet Magazine -- November 5, 1953

Cookie Cole Celebrates Ninth Birthday with Natalie Cole - Jet Magazine, November 5, 1953

Chicago Sun-Times, November 5, 2008


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