October 5

Neil deGrasse Tyson (born October 5, 1958) is an astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. He is currently director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a research associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History. He holds a BS in physics from Harvard (1980), an MS in astronomy from the University of Texas (1983), and an MS and PhD from Columbia in astrophysics (1989, 1991).


James "Tim" Brymn (October 5, 1881- October 3, 1946) led the Black Devil Orchestra, an all African American 70 piece musical unit representing the 350th Field Artillery Regiment during World War I. The band was described at the time as "a military symphony engaged in a battle of jazz." Later in his musical career, he was a musical director for James Reese Europe's Clef Club and the broadway show Liza, and also led orchestras at Ziegfeld's Roof Garden and Reisenweber's Jardin de Dance. Brymn attended Shaw University and the National Conservatory of Music.

Jimmy Blanton (October 5, 1918 - July 30, 1942) was the first true jazz double bass player, expanding the use of the instrument from background rhythm to solo performance. He was discovered in St Louis by Duke Ellington and played in Ellington's orchestra for two years before dying of tuberculosis at the age of 23. Blanton and Ellington recorded a number of piano-bass duets.

Autherine Juanita Lucy (born October 5, 1929) enrolled as a graduate student in library science at the University of Alabama in February 1956 after three years of litigation. When over a thousand people gathered to violently protest her presence, she was suspended on the grounds that the school could not guarantee her safety, and was later expelled. In April 1988, Lucy's expulsion was officially annulled by the University of Alabama. She enrolled in the graduate program in Education the following year and received an M.A. degree in May 1992.

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (born October 5, 1932) was a member of the California State Assembly representing Los Angeles' 63rd District (1966–1972), served as Vice-Chairperson of the 1972 Democratic National Convention (she was the first African-American to hold that position), and was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives initially representing portions of Los Angeles (1973–79).

Bernie Mac (born Bernard Jeffrey McCullough October 5, 1951 - August 9, 2008) was an American stand-up comedian, actor and voice artist. Born and raised on Chicago's south side, Mac gained popularity as a stand-up comedian. He joined comedians Steve Harvey, Cedric the Entertainer, and D. L. Hughley in The Original Kings of Comedy. He was the star of The Bernie Mac Show, which ran from 2001 through 2006, earning him two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. He also appeared in several films, most notably as Frank Catton in the remake of Ocean's Eleven and as the title character of Mr. 3000.


On October 5, 1917, the Secretary of War announced the appointment of Emmett J. Scott as confidential advisor to the War Department. His assignment was to represent the interests of African Americans in relation to their role in World War I. Scott had been associate editor of the Texas Freeman, a newspaper in Houston and secretary to Booker T. Washington.

"El Negro of Banyoles" is the name given to a stuffed human body that was displayed at the Francesc Darder Museum of Natural History in Banyoles, Spain, between 1916 and 1997. It was removed after protests by Africans and people of African ancestry, which began around the time of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The body was eventually repatriated to Africa, and was re-buried in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, on October 5, 2000.

Photo Gallery

Valaida Snow conducting the orchestra on the set of the show
 Blackbirds at the Coliseum in London, October 5, 1934

Homestead Grays baseball team at Forbes Field, Pittsburgh: October 5, 1943

Illustrated pamphlet of Martin Luther King's speech to AFL-CIO, October 5, 1961.  

Aaliyah strikes a pose backstage at Lifebeats Urban Aid concert in Madison Square
 Garden on October 5, 1995. (Photo by Catherine McGann/Getty Images)

On October 5, 2001: Barry Bonds surpassed Mark McGuire’s single-season
 home run total with his milestone 71st and 72nd home runs.

Actress Kerry Washington reads the 1851 speech of abolitionist Sojourner Truth. Part of a reading from Voices of a People's History of the United States (Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove) October 5, 2005 in Los Angeles California


Headline from a broadside reporting on a meeting held in reaction to the Fugitive Slave Act. The meeting called on all African Americans to guard themselves against southern slave catchers, ca. October 5, 1850. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

TIME magazine featured Oprah on the cover of its October 5, 1998 issue.

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