November 16

Lisa Bonet (born November 16, 1967) is best known for her role as Denise Huxtable on the long-running NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, and originally starring in its spinoff A Different World.

William Christopher (W. C.) Handy (November 16, 1873 – March 28, 1958) was a composer and musician widely known as the "Father of the Blues". Although not the first to publish music in the blues form, he took the blues from a regional music style to one of the dominant national forces in American music. In 1896 he became the bandmaster of Mahara's Colored Minstrels, then taught at Alabama A&M for two years before becoming the director of a band organized by the Knights of Pythias, living first in Clarksdale, Mississippi and then in Memphis. The publication of sheet music to his "Memphis Blues" brought him national recognition, as did the advent of recording later in the decade. In 1926 Handy wrote and edited a work entitled Blues: An Anthology -- Complete Words and Music of 53 Great Songs, possibly the first work to record, analyze and describe the blues as an integral part of the South and the history of the United States.


Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe (November 16, 1904 - May 11, 1966) became the first president of Nigeria in 1960. He graduated from historically black Lincoln University in Pennsylvania in 1930, where his classmates were Thurgood Marshall, Cab Calloway, and Langston Hughes. He received a masters degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1933 and a masters degree in Anthropology from Columbia in 1934.

Chinua Achebe (November 16, 1930 - March 22, 2013) is considered by many to be the father of African literature. He is best known for his first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958) - and for creating the Conrad controversy with his 1975 lecture, An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” and its criticism of Joseph Conrad as “a bloody racist”. He is the winner of the Booker International Prize, 2007.
Hubert Charles Sumlin (November 16, 1931 – December 4, 2011) played guitar in Howlin' Wolf's band until Wolf's death in 1976. He continued to play with other members of the band as well as record as a solo artist. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 2008 and was ranked number 43 in Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time"

Clive Callender (born November 16, 1936) is one of the foremost specialists in organ transplant medicine in the United States. The Howard University Hospital surgeon has focused much of his career on transplant medicine among minority segments of the population, along with the unique health and social issues relevant to them as potential donors. During a campaign to increase the number of donors among African Americans he was able to triple the donorship rate.

John Earl Warren, Jr. (November 16, 1946 – January 14, 1969) Served in the Viet Nam War in the United States Army as a First Lieutenant in Company C, 2nd Battalion Mechanized), 22nd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam, on January 14, 1969. While commanding a platoon, the unit came under attack and 1LT Warren fell on an enemy-thrown grenade to shield others from the blast. The action cost him his life.The Medal was posthumously awarded to his family by President Richard Nixon on August 6, 1970.
Zina Garrison (born November 16, 1963, Houston, Texas) was a women's singles runner-up at Wimbledon in 1990, a three -time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion, and a women's doubles gold medalist with Pam Shriver at the 1988 Olympic Games. After retirement in 1996 she has been a television commentator, served as U.S. Federation Cup captain, and founded the Zina Garrison All-Court Tennis Program, which supports inner-city tennis in her native Houston.

Lisa Bonet (born November 16, 1967) is best known for her role as Denise Huxtable on the long-running NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, and originally starring in its spinoff A Different World. She also starred in the controversial 1987 film Angel Heart. Bonet was married to singer Lenny Kravitz from 1987 to 1993 and the couple has one child, a daughter Zoe. She is currently married to actor Jason Momoa.


On November 16, 1780, Paul Cuffe petitioned the council of Bristol County, Massachusetts claiming taxation without representation and demanding the right to vote. The petition was denied, but his suit was one of the influences that led the Legislature in 1783 to grant voting rights to all free male citizens of the state. At the time Cuffe operated a cargo ship from New Bedford to Nantucket. He went on to own a large fleet of ships, becoming most likely the wealthiest African American in the United States.

On November 16, 1875, Ethiopia won the Battle of Gundet over Egypt. This conflict was carefully observed by African American due to a growing Black Nationalist idealism led by people such as Edward Blyden and Martin Delany. The Ethiopian forces were led by Ras Alula Engida, who the next year was made governor of Mereb Mellash and Midri Bahri (today part of Eritrea).

On November 16, 1875, Alabama’s Constitution of 1875 is ratified. The "Bourbon" Democrats, having claimed to “redeem” the Alabama people from the Reconstruction rule of carpetbaggers and scalawags, wrote a new constitution to replace the one of 1868. It was a conservative document that gave the Democrats, and especially Black Belt planters, a firm grip on their recently reacquired control of state government.

On November 16, 1972, the Louisiana National Guard was mobilized after Baton Rouge police officers killed two students, Denver A. Smith and Leonard Douglass Brown, in a confrontation between African American students and the police during demonstrations on the campus of Southern University.

On November 16, 2004, President George W. Bush nominated Condoleezza Rice to replace Colin Powell as secretary of state. They were respectively the first African American woman and man in that office.

Photo Gallery

"The first vote" - African American men, in dress indicative of their professions, in a queue waiting their turn to vote. 1867 November 16 by Alfred R. Waud.

Lady Bird Cleveland, mother of legendary model Pat Cleveland photographed by Carl Van Vechten on November 16, 1954 with her painting in oil of Eartha Kitt.

This photograph from November 16, 1961, shows a “White only” laundromat in Tallahassee. 

Novelist Toni Morrison won the “Elmer Holmes Bobst Award” in Arts and Letters for her book, Beloved, on November 16, 1988.'  - CARTER Magazine

On November 16, 2000 Oprah Winfrey received the 85th NAACP Spingarn Medal for her achievements and contributions as an actress, producer, educator, publisher, and humanitarian.

Princess Ruth Komuntale of Toro/Uganda, who married her American fiancĂ© Christopher Thomas on 16 November 2012. Her brother is the current King Rukidi IV. 

A thin dusting of snow that fell overnight lays on items that make up a memorial at the site where Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Missouri, November 16, 2014.


Jet Magazine. November 16, 1967.

"Revolutionary or Police Agent?" The Black Panther - November 16, 1974


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