November 23

On November 23, 1733, 150 enslaved cane workers from Akwamu (present-day Ghana) revolted against the owners and managers of the island's plantations. An Akwamu chief, King June, a field slave and foreman on the Sødtmann estate, led the rebellion. Other leaders were Kanta, King Bolombo, Prince Aquashie, and Breffu. Lasting several months, the rebellion was one of the earliest and longest slave revolts in the Americas. The Akwamu captured the fort in Coral Bay and took control of most of the island. They intended to resume crop production under their own control and use Africans of other tribes as slave labor. Planters regained control by the end of May 1734, after the Akwamu were defeated by several hundred better-armed French and Swiss troops sent in April from Martinique, a French colony. Colony militia continued to hunt down maroons and finally declared the rebellion at an end in late August 1734.


Emmett Ashford (November 23, 1914 – March 1, 1980) began his umpiring career in 1951 with the Southwestern International League while on leave from his job with the post office. He was the first African American umpire in organized baseball and worked his way up to the Class AAA Pacific Coast League where he served for 12 years before his debut with the American League in 1966. After his retirement in 1970 he was hired by commissioner Bowie Kuhn as a public relations adviser, speaking and holding umpiring clinics. He also served as umpire-in-chief for the Alaskan summer league for three years.

R. L. Burnside (November 23, 1926 – September 1, 2005), born Robert Lee Burnside, was a delta blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist who lived much of his life in and around Holly Springs, Mississippi. He played music for much of his life, but did not receive much attention until the early 1990s. In the latter half of the 1990s, Burnside repeatedly recorded with Jon Spencer, garnering crossover appeal and introducing his music to a new fanbase within the underground garage rock scene.

Betty Everett (November 23, 1939 – August 19, 2001) was best known for her biggest hit single, the million-selling "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)". Another hit was her 1964 duet with Jerry Butler, "Let It Be Me", and a cover of her "You're No Good" became a success for Linda Ronstadt. She regained notice in 1990 when her signature hit, "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" was used in the movie Mermaids for the end credits, recorded by the star of the film, Cher. She was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Hall Of Fame in 1996 and, about four years later, made her last public appearance on the PBS special Doo Wop 51, along with her former singing partner, Jerry Butler.

Andrew Goodman (November 23, 1943 - June 21, 1964) was a CORE volunteer for voter registration in Mississippi who was killed along with Michael Schwerner and James Chaney by Ku Klux Klan members. After 41 years Edgar Ray Killen was found guilty of 3 counts of manslaughter and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Goodman's family started the Andrew Goodman Foundation in his honor to promote social justice.

Dr. James R. Gavin III (born November 23, 1945) made advances in diabetes treatment by researching the role of insulin receptors in the human body, which was also applicable to other conditions. He is also a pioneer in patient education, raising awareness of the prevalence of diabetes and preparing easy-to-read, culturally-sensitive material. He was affiliated with a variety of research institutions including the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Public Health Service as well as Duke University and the University of Oklahoma. For 20 years he served as director of the RWJF Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, one of the longest-running minority national faculty building and development programs in the country, and he was named president of the Morehouse School of Medicine in 2002. He holds doctorates in biochemistry (Emory, 1970) and medicine (Duke, 1975). He has also served as president of the American Diabetes Association.

Bobby Lee Rush (born November 23, 1946) has served in the U.S. House of Representatives from from the 1st Illinois district, a traditionally majority-minority district containing Chicago's South Side. He was a member of SNCC and the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and early 1970s. On March 28, 2012, Rush addressed the House while wearing a hoodie in honor of Trayvon Martin, who had been killed the previous month.

Robin Roberts (born November 23, 1960) is an American television broadcaster, and anchor of ABC’s morning show Good Morning America. She was promoted to co-anchor of Good Morning America in 2005. In 2009 she hosted the Academy Awards pre-show for ABC and also again in 2011. She has earned three Emmy Awards for her sportscasting work at ESPN. In 2007, she announced, during a live GMA broadcast, that she had breast cancer. She returned to GMA in February of 2013 after her cancer treatment.


On November 23, 1897, John Lee Love received U.S. Patent No. 594,114 for his pencil sharpener, which improved on previous models by being portable with a single blade and a receptacle for shavings. It could be incorporated into a number of designs, and Love stated in the patent application that it could be used as a paperweight or desk ornament.

On November 23, 1934, “Imitation of Life” premiered in New York City. Starring Claudette Colbert, Louise Beavers, and Fredi Washington, it is the story of a white woman and an African American woman who build a pancake business while the latter’s daughter makes a desperate attempt to pass for white.

Photo Gallery

Slave Bill of Sale, November 23, 1856. Headed "Bill of Sale - Printed & Sold by P. Hoff, The State of South-Carolina" showing "A Negro fellow named Cyrus" sold at public auction for the sum of $80.00, from J. Henry Cabia to John Mitchell

On 23 November 2004, Tutu gave an address entitled "Look to the Rock from Which You Were Hewn". This lecture, critical of the ANC-controlled government, stirred a pot of controversy between Tutu and Thabo Mbeki, calling into question "the right to criticise".

President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia, pardons Liberty, a 19-week old, 45-pound turkey, on the occasion of Thanksgiving on November 23, 2011, on the North Portico of the White House.

On November 23, 2013, Jessica Wamala won the 2014 Rhodes Scholarship for study at Oxford University. Her selection made her Villanova University's first female and African American women's basketball player to receive this distinction.


This ad was part of an NAACP effort to lobby Congress to pass the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill. The bill passed easily in the House of Representatives but never came to a vote in the Senate because of filibusters in 1922, 1923 and 1924. Source: New York Times, November 23, 1922—American Social History Project.

Johnnie Walker Red, Jet Magazine. November 23, 1972

Rufus Estes' Good Things to Eat: The First Cookbook by an African-American Chef (Dover Cookbooks) by Rufus Estes. $9.95. Series - Dover Cookbooks. Author: Rufus Estes. Publisher: Dover Publications; Dover Ed edition (November 23, 2004). Publication: November 23, 2004


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