December 5, 1877: Thomas Edison demonstrated the first gramophone, with a recording of himself reciting “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.
December 5, 1902, : the government issued an 8¢ Martha Washington stamp.. The stamp was the first U.S. definitive or commemorative stamp to feature a woman.
US Labor History
December 5, 1907: in West Virginia's Marion County, an explosion in a network of mines owned by the Fairmont Coal Company in Monongah killed 361 coal miners. It was the worst mining disaster in American history. Nationwide, a total of 3,242 Americans were killed in mine accidents in 1907. In ensuing decades, the United Mine Workers of America labor union and sympathetic legislators forced safety regulations that brought a steady decline in death rates in West Virginia and elsewhere.
December 5, 1911: court sentenced unionists John T. and James B. McNamara to 15 years and life, respectively, after confessing to dynamiting the Los Angeles Times building during a drive to unionize the metal trades in the city. They placed the bomb in an alley next to the building, set to detonate when they thought the building would be empty; it went off early, and an unanticipated gas explosion and fire did the real damage, killing twenty people. The newspaper was strongly conservative and anti-union. December 5, 1955: the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged to form the AFL-CIO.
December 5, 1933: national Prohibition came to an end as Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, repealing the 18th Amendment.
December 5, 1946: President Truman created a President's Committee on Civil Rights to make recommendations for legislation or other means of strengthening the Federal Government's hand in dealing with such problems as racial discrimination and mob violence.
SOUTH AFRICA/APARTHEID & Nelson Mandela
December 5, 1956: South African authorities arrested Nelson Mandela at his home and charged him with treason, along with 155 others who called for a nonracial state.
December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela, who had led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died. He was 95.
December 5, 1957: New York City became the first city in the nation to pass a fair housing ordinance making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race.
December 5, 1960: Supreme Court decision, Boynton v Virginia. The court overturned a judgment convicting an African American law student for trespassing by being in a restaurant in a bus terminal which was "whites only.” The decision held that racial segregation in public transportation was illegal because such segregation violated the Interstate Commerce Act.
December 5, 1966: Bond v. Floyd decision. Civil rights leader Julian Bond had been elected to the Georgia House of Representatives, but the legislature refused to seat him because of his civil rights activities and political views. Bond had been one of the leaders of the sit-ins in Atlanta in 1960. He was also a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In Bond v. Floyd the Supreme Court unanimously ordered him seated, which he was on January 9, 1967.
December 5, 1967: 1000 antiwar protesters try to close NYC induction center. Many arrested including Allen Ginsberg and Dr. Benjamin Spock.
My Lai Massacre
December 5, 1969: though first published on November 20, 1969, on this date the CBS Evening News Walter Cronkite issued a warning about the disturbing My Lai images for viewers before showing them. The images immediately caused a country-wide uproar.
Sexual Abuse of Children
December 5, 2013, Pope Francis announced the establishment of a commission to advise him on protecting children from pedophile priests and on how to counsel victims.