November 7

Ruby Hurley (November 7, 1909 - August 8, 1980) was on a 1939 committee formed to find a way for Marian Anderson to perform in Washington D.C. after her planned appearance at Constitution Hall was denied by the DAR. Through this, Hurley met Walter White who appointed her NAACP National Youth Secretary in 1943 after her work with the Washington branch. She later received a temporary assignment coordinating membership campaigns in five southern states. In 1951 she established the Birmingham Field Office, the first permanent NAACP office in the deep south, and served as Southeast Regional Secretary. With  Amzie Moore and Medgar Evers she helped investigate the deaths of George Lee and Emmett Till, even working undercover in the cotton fields to gather information. Although she practiced Christian nonviolence, she appeared on the cover of Jet magazine's October 6, 1955, issue with a caption reading "Most Militant Negro Woman In The South". When Alabama banned the NAACP on June 1, 1956 she continued her work from Atlanta. After retirement she remained in Atlanta and continued her activism through local organizations and her church, Warren Memorial UMC.


Joshua Bowen Smith (November 7, 1813 - July 5, 1879) was a headwaiter at Boston's Mount Washington House before starting his own catering business. He worked with abolitionist groups as well as providing supplies for the Union army, and often hired men and women fleeing from slavery, including Ellen and William Craft. He represented Cambridge in the state legislature (1873-74) and was the first African American member (October, 1867) of the Saint Andrew’s Lodge of Freemasons of Massachusetts.
Ben Guillory (born November 7, 1949) studied at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and has worked extensively in theater, film and television as an actor and director. With Danny Glover he co-founded the Robey Theatre Company in honor of the late actor, activist, and operatic singer Paul Robeson, in 1994, and currently serves as its artistic director. He received an Ovation Award nomination for Featured Actor in a Play in 2008, for his performance as Wining Boy in The Piano Lesson produced at The Hayworth Theatre in Los Angeles. He played Grady in The Color Purple (1985) and was as Principal Foster on the TV show My So-Called Life (1994).

Alexa Canady (born November 7, 1950) was the first African American woman to become a neurosurgeon when she completed her residency at the University of Minnesota in 1981. Dr. Canady was Chief of Neurosurgery at Children's Hospital of Michigan (1987-2001) and taught at Wayne State. After retirement she moved to Florida where she began a part-time practice in Pensacola. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, of which her mother Elizabeth is a past National President.


On November 7, 1841, Madison Washington, an enslaved cook, led a successful revolt aboard the slave-trading ship The Creole which was bound from Richmond to New Orleans, taking the ship to  Nassau which was under British control. Great Britain had abolished slavery in 1839 in its nation and colonies. Despite American protests, the British declared the slaves to be free persons under their law and refused American demands for their return. Washington and his 18 conspirators were charged with mutiny. but the Admiralty Court ruled in favor of the men and freed them in April 1842.

On November 7, 1955 The Supreme Court ruled against Atlanta's "separate but equal" precept in public golf courses. The Holmes family shared a love of golf but were denied access to whites-only public courses. After their lawsuit appeared before the Supreme Court, Atlanta's golf courses were desegregated without incident.

On November 7, 1963, catcher Elston Howard became the first African American to win the American League's Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Howard was crucial in helping the Yankees win their fourth consecutive AL pennant. He hit for an average of .287 with 28 home runs and 85 runs batted in (RBI) and solidifying a sturdy pitching staff. He had begun his career with the Kansas City Monarchs and was the first African American player for the Yankees.

On November 7, 1972 Andrew Young of Atlanta, Georgia and Barbara Jordan of Houston, Texas become the first southern African Americans elected to Congress since Reconstruction. Also elected for the first time was Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (California). Republican Senator Edward W. Brooke of Massachusetts was overwhelmingly endorsed for a second term.

On November 7, 2003 Army Command Sgt. Maj. Cornell W. Gilmore of the Judge Advocate General's office at the Pentagon was killed when the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter he was in went down on in Tikrit, Iraq. His mission was to have lasted a week, as part of a required stop by the JAG command to make sure the corps' 395 troops in Iraq were keeping legal operations running smoothly. He was chief adviser to the Judge Advocate General for enlisted issues and was the only African-American in the JAG Corps' leadership.

Photo Gallery


Model Janet Foucher -- Jet Magazine November 7, 1963

Pepsi Ad -- Jet Magazine November 7, 1963

SOUL,  November 7, 1977 — Shirley Hemphill of What's Happening (1976-79, ABC)


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