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This Month In Black History: Important Things That Happened In November That You Never Learned

This Month In Black History: Important Things That Happened In November That You Never Learned

There’s so much to learn!

November marks the official start of the holiday season as we prepare to end the year strong. There are so many Black historical moments that happened in this month; from speeches to birthdays and everything in between, we’ve got you covered. In our latest recap, here is a list of important things that happened in November that you may not have known, courtesy of


November 9, 1731 - Scientist and inventor Benjamin Banneker is born


November 1, 1787 - The first free school, the African Free School, opens in New York City


November 18, 1787 - Abolitionist Sojourner Truth is born


November 11, 1831 - Nat Turner is executed after leading a slave revolt in Southampton County, Virginia


November 5, 1836 - Theo Wright makes history as first Black person to receive a Theology Degree in the U.S. 


November 25, 1841 - 35 formerly enslaved survivors of the Amistad ship returned home to Africa


November 3, 1868 - John W. Menard makes history as the first Black person elected to Congress


November 9, 1868 - Howard University Medical School opens


November 7, 1876 - Meharry Medical College founded at Central Tennessee College


November 3, 1882 - John Baxter Taylor, the 1st African-American Olympic Gold Medalist, is born


November 27, 1884 - The Philadelphia Tribune is founded by Christopher J. Perry


November 2, 1889 - Menelik II, the former emperor of Ethiopia, was crowned King of Kings of Abyssinia, Ethiopia.


November 30, 1889 - Black Inventor Samuel R. Scottron patents the curtain rod


November 10, 1891 - Granville T. Woods patents the electric railway


November 6, 1900 - James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson compose Lift Every Voice and Sing


November 9, 1901 - William Monroe Trotter founded The Guardian newspaper in Boston, Massachusetts


November 29, 1908 - Politician and civil rights activist Adam Clayton Powell Jr. is born 


November 1, 1910 - W.E.B. Du Bois began publishing NAACP monthly magazine, Crisis.


November 20, 1910 - Activist Pauli Murray is born


November 17, 1911 - Omega Psi Phi Fraternity is founded on the campus of Howard University


November 30, 1912 - Iconic photographer Gordon Parks is born 


November 13, 1913 - Dr. Daniel Hale Williams makes history as the first Black person elected to the American College of Surgeons


November 14, 1915 - Educator Booker T. Washington passes away


November 6, 1920 - W.E.B. Du Bois awarded the Spingarn Medal for his role in the founding and calling of the Pan African Congress


November 9, 1922 - Actress Dorothy Dandridge is born


November 12, 1922 - Sigma Gamma Rho, Sorority Inc. was founded by seven Black women in Indianapolis, Indiana


November 25, 1922 - Marcus Garvey gives a speech in New York City outlining “The Principles of The Universal Negro Improvement Association”


November 20, 1923 - Inventor Garrett T. Morgan patents the traffic signal


November 30, 1924 - Shirley Chisholm, first Black woman to run for President, is born


November 6, 1928 - W.A. Scott Jr. founded the Atlanta Daily World newspaper


November 28, 1929 - Motown founder Berry Gordy is born


November 2, 1930 - Haile Selassie crowned emperor of Ethiopia 


November 16, 1930 - Nigerian author Chinua Achebe is born


November 8, 1933 - Actress Ester Rolle is born


November 7, 1934 - Arthur L. Mitchell defeats Oscar DePriest in Chicago to become the first Black Democratic congressman


November 26, 1939 - Singer Tina Turner is born


November 12, 1941 - Madame Lillian Evanti founds the National Negro Opera Company


November 1, 1942 - John H. Jonson publishes the 1st issue of Negro Digest


November 4, 1942 - Inventor Patricia Bath is born


November 22, 1942 - Guion “Guy” Bluford, the first African American in space, is born


November 27, 1942 - Jimi Hendrix is born


November 1, 1945 - John H. Johnson publishes the 1st issue of Ebony Magazine, which sells 25,000 copies


November 3, 1945 - Paul Robeson is presented with the Spingarn Medal for outstanding achievement in theater


November 1, 1946 - Dr. Charles S. Johnson makes history as the first Black president of Fisk University.


November 23, 1946 - Civil Rights Activist and Illinois Congressman Bobby Lee Rush is born


November 3, 1949 - Heavyweight champion boxer Larry Holmes is born


November 25, 1949 - Ralph J. Bunche awarded Spingarn Medal for his achievements as UN mediator of the Palestine conflict


November 25, 1949 - American tap dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson passes away


November 15, 1950 - Arthur Dorrington makes history as the first Black person to play organized hockey


November 1, 1951 - John H. Johnson founded Jet Magazine.


November 13, 1951 - Ballerina Janet Collins makes history as the first Black dancer to appear with the Metropolitan Opera Company


November 8, 1953 - Actress Alfre Woodard is born 


November 2, 1954 - Charles C. Diggs Jr. makes history as Michigan’s first Black congressman.


November 14, 1954 - Condoleezza Rice, the first Black woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State, is born


November 13, 1955 - Whoopi Goldberg is born


November 29, 1955 - Alice Childress makes history as first Black woman to receive an Obie Award for her play, Trouble in Mind


November 9, 1956 - Mattiwilda Dobbs makes history as the first Black person to sing a romantic lead at the Metropolitan Opera


November 14, 1956 - Valerie Jarrett, President Barack Obama’s senior advisor, is born


November 18, 1956 - NFL player Warren Moon is born


November 18, 1956 - Comedian Sinbad is born


November 27, 1957 - Dorothy Height is elected as president of the National Council of Negro Women


November 10, 1960 - Andrew T. Hatcher named associate press secretary by President John F. Kennedy, making history as the first Black person to hold the position


November 23, 1960 - Television broadcaster Robin Roberts is born


November 28, 1960 - Native Son author Richard Wright passes away


November 28, 1961 - Ernie Davis makes history as the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy


November 16, 1963 - Olympic gold medalist Zina Garrison is born


November 3, 1964 - A.W. Willis Jr. makes history as first Black person elected to the General Assembly


November 3, 1964 - John Conyers Jr. is elected to the House of Representatives from the city of Detroit


November 17, 1964 - Susan Rice, the first Black woman to hold the title of National Security Advisor under the Barack Obama Administration, is born


November 27, 1964 - Actress Robin Givens is born


November 30, 1965 - Judith Jamison debuts with Alvin Ailey’s American Dance Theatre


November 8, 1966 - John H. Johnson awarded Spingarn Medal for his productive imagination in the fields of publishing


November 13, 1967 - Carl Stokes elected as mayor of Cleveland, Ohio, making history as the first Black elected Mayor of a major American city


November 16, 1967 - Actress Lisa Bonet is born


November 5, 1968 - Shirley Chisholm makes history as first Black woman to be elected to Congress


November 4, 1969 - Entertainment mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs is born


November 11, 1969 - George R. Carruthers patents the image converter for detecting electromagnetic radiation


November 17, 1972 - Barbara Jordan of Houston & Andrew Young of Atlanta make history as the first African-Americans from the south to be elected to Congress since the Reconstruction era


November 6, 1973 - Coleman A. Young is elected mayor of Detroit, becoming one of the first two Black mayors of major cities

Important things that happened in November that you may not know. Detroit Mayor Coleman Young. Photo Courtesy of Jet Magazine


November 2, 1974 - Rapper Nelly is born


November 5, 1974 - Walter E. Washington becomes first elected mayor of Washington, D.C.


November 9, 1975 - Singer Sisqo of Dru Hill is born


November 11, 1975 - Angola proclaims its independence


November 20, 1976 - Three-time Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes is born


November 27, 1976 - Actor Jaleel White is born


November 12, 1977 - Ernest Nathan Morial makes history as the first elected Black Mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana


November 12, 1977 - Alex Haley awarded the Spingarn Medal for his powerful portrayal of African-Americans in his book Roots


November 18, 1978 - United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young awarded Spingarn Medal “for his major role in raising the consciousness of American citizens to the significance in world affairs of the massive African continent.”


November 15, 1979 - Princeton Professor Arthur Lewis receives Nobel Prize in economics, becoming the first Black person to receive the award in a category other than peace


November 15, 1979 - Rosa Parks awarded the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal for her role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott


November 17, 1980 - Washington, D.C.’s WHMM-TV makes history as the first African-American broadcasting television station


November 4, 1981 - Zina Garrison makes history as the first black player to win the junior singles tennis championship at Wimbledon


November 30, 1981 - Detroit Mayor Coleman Young receives NAACP’s Spingarn Medal


November 2, 1983 - President Ronald Reagan officially signs a law declaring the third Monday in January as Martin Luther King Jr Day


November 3, 1983 - Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson announces his candidacy for President


November 7, 1989 - David Dinkins makes history as first Black mayor of New York City


November 22, 1989 - Colonel Frederick D. Gregory makes history as the first African-American to lead a space mission


November 6, 1990 - Sharon Pratt Kelly makes history as the first elected woman mayor of Washington, D.C. 


November 23, 1990 - August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson wins the Pulitzer Prize for drama


November 7, 1991 - Jimi Hendrix inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


November 3, 1992 - Carol Mosely Braun makes history as the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate


November 17, 1992 - Poet Audre Lorde passes away


November 12, 1994 - Olympic Gold Medalist Wilma Rudolph passes away at the age of 54


November 18, 1994 - Jazz musician Cab Calloway passes away


November 29, 1997 - Former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young passes away


November 17, 1998 - Actress Esther Rolle passes away


November 25, 1998 - Comedian Flip Wilson passes away


November 4, 2008 - President-elect Barack Obama defeats John McCain, delivering his historic victory speech to an audience of 250,000 at Grant Park in Chicago


November 5, 2021 - Jonathan Scott Holloway inaugurated as first Black president of Rutgers University


November 29, 2021 - Singer Rihanna named National Hero of Barbados

Important things that happened in November that you may not know. Emperor Haile Selassie I. Photo Courtesy of Swiss National Museum