A Brief History
On November 7, 1775, in an announcement known as “Dunmore’s Proclamation,” the first movement to free African-Americans from slavery (also known as “emancipation”) took place when the Royal Governor of Virginia offered freedom to any slave willing to fight for the British against the Colonies in the American Revolution. Between 800 and 2,000 black slaves accepted the offer, inciting rage and fear among Virginia’s slave holders. Over the course of the Revolution, an estimated 100,000 slaves tried to take advantage of similar British offers, and at least 3,000 of them were sent to Nova Scotia as freemen.
Significant political milestones in African-American history were also reached on November 7, with Douglas Wilder becoming the first black U.S. governor as he was voted into office in Virginia and David Dinkens becoming the first black mayor of New York City! (Both in 1989.) History and Headlines Facts: Dinkins had served in the U.S. Marine Corps after initially being denied entry because the Marines had already reached their “racial quota.” His main accomplishment during his one term as mayor was drastically reducing crime in the Big Apple.
Unfortunately, on November 7, 1991, Earvin “Magic” Johnson announced he was HIV positive and retired from NBA basketball. Johnson allegedly had thousands of sexual partners, with an annual average of 300 to 500. Johnson followed his NBA career by investing in African American communities and sports franchises, including the LA Dodgers and LA Lakers, as well as becoming an advocate for HIV awareness and safe-sex. He also has made motivational speeches and has been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Question for students (and subscribers): What do you consider to be the most significant event to have occurred in African-American history on November 7th? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Stewart, Jeffrey C. 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History. Three Rivers Press, 1998.