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This Day in History: February 5


1631 – Roger Williams emigrates to Boston.

1778 – South Carolina becomes the second state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

1849 – University of Wisconsin–Madison's first class meets at Madison Female Academy.

1917 – The Congress of the United States passes the Immigration Act of 1917 over President Woodrow Wilson's veto. Also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, it forbade immigration from nearly all of south and southeast Asia.

1918 – Stephen W. Thompson shoots down a German airplane. It is the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.

1918 – SS Tuscania is torpedoed off the coast of Ireland; it is the first ship carrying American troops to Europe to be torpedoed and sunk.

1919 – Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith launch United Artists.

1937 – United States president Franklin D. Roosevelt proposes his Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 in an attempt to reduce legal opposition to his New Deal.

1945 – World War II: General Douglas MacArthur returns to Manila.

1958 – A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.

1971 – Astronauts land on the moon in the Apollo 14 mission.

1972 – Bob Douglas becomes the first African American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

1976 – The 1976 swine flu outbreak begins at Fort Dix, NJ.

1988 – Manuel Noriega is indicted on drug smuggling and money laundering charges.

1994 – Byron De La Beckwith is convicted of the 1963 murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

2008 – A major tornado outbreak across the Southern United States kills 57.


1723 – John Witherspoon, Scottish-American minister and academic (d. 1794)

1725 – James Otis, Jr., American lawyer and politician (d. 1783)

1784 – Nancy Lincoln, American mother of Abraham Lincoln (d. 1818)

1848 – Belle Starr, American criminal (d. 1889)

1903 – Joan Whitney Payson, American businesswoman and philanthropist (d. 1975)

1914 – William S. Burroughs, American author and painter (d. 1997)

1928 – Andrew Greeley, American priest, sociologist, and author (d. 2013)

1934 – Hank Aaron. American baseball player

1969 – Bobby Brown, American singer-songwriter, dancer, and actor


1967 – Leon Leonwood Bean, American businessman, founded L.L.Bean (b. 1872)

1972 – Marianne Moore, American poet, author, critic, and translator (b. 1887)

1976 – Rudy Pompilli, American saxophonist (Bill Haley & His Comets) (b. 1926)