April 5 is a very popular day for historical stuff to happen. For one thing, it seems like one of those days when everyone important who ever lived was born. Joseph Lister, the English doctor who pioneered antiseptic surgery, was born today in 1827. By the time he died, surgeons had all but abandoned their prior practice of wiping their hands off on their aprons right before commencing an operation.
Revered African American author and educator Booker T. Washington was born today in 1856. Washington's influence as a writer, teacher, and leader has stretched beyond his own lifetime and far beyond the black community. Not only is he still a legendary figure all over the world, his first name and middle initial have provided the stage names for the frontman of 1960s soul supergroup Booker T. and the M.G.'s, and former WCW and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Booker "Booker T." Huffman.
Not impressed by April 5 yet? Get a load of this laundry list of famous Hollywood types who were born on this date: Spencer Tracy (1900), Bette Davis (1908), Gregory Peck (1916), Christopher "Mr. Belvedere" Hewett (1922), Roger Corman (1926), Nigel Hawthorne (1929), Frank Gorshin (1933), and X-Files star Mitch Pileggi (1952). That list just gets better as it goes along!
And check out all the famous people who died today: Howard Hughes (kidney failure, 1976), Kurt Cobain (blew his own fucking head off, 1994), and Allen Ginsburg (liver cancer, 1997), to name only a few. What a great day to be alive, or to die, is April 5. Truly the finest of days.