December 5: This Day In History

Mary Mcleod BethuneDecember 5, 2014 – Segment 1

Marc talks about what happened on this day in history, including the day Christopher Columbus became the first European to set foot on the island of Hispaniola, the day Mary McLeod Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women, and the day Phillis Wheatley, the first African American woman to have her work published, died.

Today is,

–International Volunteer Day for economic and Social Development (International)

–Discovery Day (Haiti and Dominican Republic)

–World Soil Day, International

On this day,

1484 – Pope Innocent VIII issues the Summis, a papal bull that deputizes Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger as inquisitors to root out alleged witchcraft in Germany.

1492 – Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to set foot on the island Hispaniola ( Haiti and Dominican Republic)

1766 – Auctioneer James Christie, hold his first sale in London.

1775 – Henry Knox begins his historic transport of artillery to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

1775 – A petition signed by fourteen White officers was issued to the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony recognizing the exemplary service of Salem Poor at the Battle of Bunker Hill. The petition stated that he had “behaved like an experienced officer” and that in Poor “centers a brave and gallant soldier.” Not much is known of Poor’s life except that he was born enslaved in Andover, Massachusetts and bought his freedom in 1769. In 1775, he enlisted in the Continental Army and fought at Bunker Hill, Monmouth, and Saratoga. He was one of approximately 5,000 African Americans that fought for the patriots in the Revolutionary War. Little is known of Poor’s post-war life. In 1975, Poor was honored by the United States Postal Service with a commemorative postage stamp in the “Contributors to the Cause” series. (

1847 – Jefferson Davis is elected to the U.S. senate, his first political post.

1848 – In a message to the United States Congress, President James K. Polk confirms that large amounts of gold had been discovered in California.

1876 – Approx. 278 people perish after a fire breaks out in a theatre in Brooklyn, New York.

1924 – Robert Manaliso Sobukwe, leader of the Pan Africanist Congress was born on this day in Cape province, South Africa.

1932 – German physicist Albert Einstein is granted an American visa.

1933 – Utah becomes the state to ratify the Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution, establishing the 3/4 majority needed to enact the amendment which overturned the 18th amendment and ending prohibition.

1935 – Mary McLeod Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women as an organization of organizations to represent the national and international concerns of Black women. The organization’s mission is to lead, develop, and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities. They fulfill their mission through research, advocacy, and national and community based health, education, and economic empowerment services programs in the United States and Africa. Today, the NCNW is a council of 39 affiliated national African American women’s organizations connecting nearly 4 million women worldwide.(

1941 – Great Britain declares war on Finland, Hungary and Romania.

1952 – The United Nations sets up Commission on Apartheid. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 616(VII) to establish a three-member United Nations Commission on the Racial Situation in the Union of South Africa (UNCORS). Its mandate was to study the racial situation in South Africa. Thirty-five delegates voted in favor of the commission, one voted against it, with twenty-three abstentions.(

1955 – The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merge nd form the AFL-CIO.

1955 – E.D. Nixon and Rosa Parks lead the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

1957 – Surkano, the 1st President of Indonesia expels all Dutch people from Indonesia.

1978 – The Soviet Union signs a “friendship treaty’ with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.

2004 – The Civil Partnership Act comes into effect in the United Kingdom, and the first civil partnership is registered there.


1782 – Martin Van Burn, Eighth President of the United States (d.1841)

1839 – George Armstrong Custer, American calvary officer (d.1876)

1870 – Alexander Dumas, playwright and novelist, died.  Dumas was born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie July 24, 1802 outside of Paris, France. His paternal grandfather was from the colony now known as Haiti and his grandmother was an Afro-Caribbean Creole. In 1822, Dumas moved to Paris and began writing plays for the theater. His first two plays, “Henry III and His Court” (1829) and “Christine” (1830), were successful and brought him much acclaim. After writing more successful plays, Dumas turned to historical novels, including “The Three Musketeers” (1844), “Twenty Years After” (1845), and “The Count of Monte Cristo” (1846). Despite his success and aristocratic connections, his mixed-race affected him all his life. In response to a man who insulted him about his mixed-race background, Dumas stated, “My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours’ ends.” Also in 1843, he wrote the novel “Georges” that addressed some of the issues of race and colonialism. Dumas’ stories have been translated into almost 100 languages and have inspired more than 200 motion pictures.  (

1870 or 1871 – Willie M. “Bill” Pickett, cowboy and rodeo performer, was born in Travis County, Texas.

1879 – John Matthew Shippen, Jr., the first Black person to play in the U. S. Open Golf Tournament, was born in Long Island, New York. When Shippen was nine his father was sent to serve as a minister on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, New York which was close to the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. Shippen worked as a caddy at the golf club and learned to play the game. (d.1968).  (

1895 –  Elbert Frank Cox, the first Black person in the United States to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics, was born in Evansville, Indiana.

1912 – Kate Simon, American travel writer (d.1990)

1918 –  Charity Edna Adams Early, the first African American officer in the Woman’s Army Air Corps, was born inKittrell, North Carolina. Early earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and physics from Wilberforce University in 1938 and enlisted in the WAAC in 1942. She served as the commanding officer and battalion commander of the first battalion of African American women to serve overseas during World War II and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. After retiring from the army, she earned her Master of Arts degree in vocational psychology from Ohio State University in 1946 and taught at Tennessee A&I College and Georgia State College. Early was inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 1993. Early published her autobiography, “One Woman’s Army: A Black Officer Remembers the WAC,” in 1989. She died January 13, 2002. (

1931 – Lowell W. Perry, the first African American assistant coach in the National Football League, was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan.


1784 – Phillis Wheatley, the first African American woman to have her work published, died.  Wheatley was born in Senegal and enslaved at the age of seven. She was taught how to read and write by her owners.  In 1773 her book “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral” was published in London, England and brought her immediate fame.

1791 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian pianist and composer (b.1756)

1926 – Claude Monet, French painter (b.1840)

1951 – Shoeless Joe Jackson, American baseball player and manager (b.1887)

2012 – Dave Brubeck, American pianist and composer (b.1920)

2012 – Oscar Niemeyer, Brazilian architect, designed the United Nations Headquarters and Cathedral of Brasilia (b.1907).

2013 – Nelson Mandela, South African lawyer, and politician, 1st President of South Africa, Nobel Prie laureate (b.1918)

Sources: The People History; This Day in Labor History; Wikipedia List of Historical Anniversaries; This Day in Women’s History; This Day in African History;; History Orb; Yenoba; Selected Black Facts; Phil Konstantin’s North American Indian History; and This Day in Music