January 5

George Washington Carver passed away on January 5, 1943. The exact year and date of his birth are not known and believed to be around 1864. After earning bachelor's and master's degrees in botany from Iowa State University, he headed the Tuskegee Institute agriculture department from 1896 until his death and was known for his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton, such as peanuts, soybeans and sweet potatoes. He became nationally known during the 1920s for his promotion of these crops, and testified before Congress in support of the Fordney-McCumber Tariff of 1922, which was passed including a tariff on imported peanuts.


Sissieretta Jones (born Matilda Sissieretta Joyner, January 5, 1868 or 1869 - June 24, 1933) studied at the Providence Academy of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music and performed locally before making her New York debut in 1888 at Steinway Hall. In February 1892 she performed at the White House for President Benjamin Harrison, eventually singing for four consecutive presidents (Harrison, Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt) and the British royal family. That year she also became the first African American to sing at Carnegie Hall, but because of the racism she met in pursuing an opera career she formed the Black Patti Troubadours (later known as the Black Patti Musical Comedy Company), made up of 40 jugglers, comedians, dancers and a chorus of 40 trained singers. The revue began each performance with vaudeville acts, followed by Mrs. Jones singing, and toured successfully for twenty years.

Elizabeth "Libba" Cotten (January 5, 1895 – June 29, 1987) was a folk singer and songwriter who taught herself to play the guitar left-handed, using a standard guitar and playing the bass lines with her fingers and the melody with her thumb. She did not begin performing publicly and recording until she was in her 60s when was discovered by the folk-singing Seeger family while she was working for them as a housekeeper. She went on to play concerts with some of the big names in the burgeoning folk revival. Some of these included Mississippi John Hurt, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters at venues such as the Newport Folk Festival and the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife.

William Knox (January 5, 1904 - July 7, 1995) worked on the Manhattan Project along with his younger brother, Thomas, and was the only African American supervisor on the project. Both were chemists, and a third brother, Lawrence, held a PhD in history. After the war, William worked for Eastman Kodak, until 1970, receiving a total of 21 patents for his work during that time. His undergraduate was from Harvard (1925), and he earned an MS (1929) and PhD (1935) from M.I.T. before joining the faculty of North Carolina A&T and later chairing the chemistry department at Talladega College.

Fred "Snowflake" Toones (January 5, 1906 – February 13, 1962) was one of the most prolific character faces in B-Westerns and cliffhangers during the 1930s and 1940s, appearing in over 200 films, often in uncredited roles or listed as "Snowflake". He first appeared as a porter in 1932 in The Hurricane Express, and was usually typecast as a porter – appearing in over 50 films in such a role. He also played a variety of other service-oriented or domestic worker roles such as stable grooms, janitors, elevator operators, valets, cooks, bellhops, doormen, butlers, and bartenders.
Hosea Lorenzo Williams (January 5, 1926 - November 16, 2000) was part o the SCLC leadership that organized the St. Augustine protests in 1964 and the Selma voting rights march in 1965. He had been a staff sergeant during World War II was the only survivor of a Nazi bombing, which left him in a hospital in Europe for more than a year and earned him a Purple Heart. Upon his return home from the war, Williams was savagely beaten by a group of angry whites at a bus station for drinking from a water fountain marked "Whites Only". He was beaten so badly that the attackers thought he was dead. He earned a high school diploma at the age of 23, then a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Morris Brown College and a master's degree in chemistry from Atlanta University.

Alvin Ailey (January 5, 1931 – December 1, 1989) founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City and is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th-century concert dance. His choreographic masterpiece Revelations is believed to be the best known and most often seen modern dance performance. In 1977, Ailey was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP and he received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1988. In 2014, President Barack Obama selected Ailey to be a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Theodore William (Ted) Lange (born January 5, 1948) is best known for his role as the bartender, Isaac Washington, in the TV series The Love Boat. He was a cast member of the musical Hair and his first screen appearance was in the documentary film Wattstax in 1973. During the run of The Love Boat, Lange also served as director and screenwriter on various episodes of the series. In 1977, he wrote the screenplay for the 1977 drama Passing Through, starring Cora Lee Day and Marla Gibbs.

Tananarive Priscilla Due (born January 5, 1966) is an American author.Due's novella “Ghost Summer,” published in the 2008 anthology The Ancestors , received the 2008 Kindred Award from the Carl Brandon Society, and her short fiction has appeared in best-of-the-year anthologies of science fiction and fantasy. Due is a leading voice in black speculative fiction.


On January 5, 1975, The Wiz opened on Broadway at the Majestic Theater, running for over four years until January 28, 1979. It won seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The musical was an early example of Broadway's mainstream acceptance of works with an all-black cast. The musical has had revivals in New York, London, San Diego and the Netherlands, and a limited-run revival was presented by Encores! at New York City Center in June 2009.  A live television production of the stage show, The Wiz Live!, was broadcast on NBC on December 3, 2015, with an encore presentation on December 19 of the same year.

On January 5, 2007, Tanzanian lawyer Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro was named Deputy Secretary-Ceneral of the United Nations, becoming the first black woman and the first African to hold this position. She was Tanzania’s first woman foreign minister, and had been a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM).

Photo Gallery

African-American woman named Mary McDonald. McDonald died on January 5, 1906 at the age of 135

Marian Anderson January 5, 1955 Metropolitan Opera House, New York, New York Photographer: United Press International Photo

A workman removes a restroom sign at Montgomery Municipal Airport, on January 5, 1962, in compliance with a federal court order banning segregation. However, city officials delayed plans to remove waiting room furniture and close toilets and water fountains. But they said these and the airport restaurant will be closed if there is a concerted integration attempt. (AP Photo)


Katherine Bell, One of The Pin-up Girls for 1956 - Jet Magazine, January 5, 1956

Sign of the Week - Look Ladies, Segregated Rest Rooms! - Jet Magazine January 5, 1956

Blues & Soul magazine, January 5, 1973 — Millie Jackson

TIME Magazine Back Issue Obama Person of the Year January 5, 2009

Black Odyssey by Nathan Irvin Huggins. $13.63. 338 pages. Publisher: Vintage (January 5, 2011)


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