2018 : Rashida Tlaib First Muslim-American Women Elected to Congress
Nov 6 all-day

Rashida Tlaib wins U.S. House seat, becomes among first Muslim-American women elected

Former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib will be among the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress after winning the seat of former Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, on Tuesday.

She was also the first woman of Palestinian descent in Congress and previously  the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan legislature.

Sources :

Rashida Tlaib Wikipedia Entry.

Todd Spangler, “How Detroit’s Rashida Tlaib will make history in Washington“, Detroit Free Press, September 7, 2018.

2018 : Record Number of Women Elected to Michigan Legislature
Nov 6 all-day

51 women were elected to the Michigan Legislature, crushing the previous record of 37.

1910: Philip Parmelee of St. Johns Makes First Air Freight Delivery
Nov 7 all-day

We’re into November now and the holiday shipping season is kicking into high gear. In the weeks to come, billions of tons of cargo will be flown around the world. A small slice of that will come through the Capital Region International Airport, which continues to build its so-named Port Lansing cargo and customs facility.

The entire global air freight industry can be traced back to one man, a daring pilot who once lived just 20 miles from Lansing’s airport. Philip Parmelee grew up in St. Johns. He learned to fly from Orville Wright himself. And, on November 7, 1910, Parmelee carried a bundle of silk cloth in an hour-long flight whose details have been largely forgotten.

Parmele was very mechanically inclined.  He was discovered by a representative from Buick. He drove their cars throughout the south and the east on long tours showing that the Buick was very sturdy.

While he was on one of these tours he visited the Wrights’ flying school in Montgomery, Alabama in the winter of 1909 and he was bitten by the flying bug. And so he took the flying course in Dayton from the Wright brothers. Orville taught the students. As soon as he finished his instructions, he was hired by them as a demonstration pilot and started demonstration flying in September of 1910.  And that’s why he was chosen to take a commercial package from Dayton to Columbus, which he became very famous for.

Max Morehouse, the owner/operator of a major department store in Columbus asked if they could fly him a cargo shipment of French silk, which at the time was not easy to get in short order.

The morning of the actual flight was a cold day and Parmelee suited up in motorcycle gear. He flew up to around 2,000 feet where it was freezing cold. So 66 minutes later he arrived in Columbus having followed railroad lines, roads, and so on.  His only navigation system being a road map. He had no compass.

Afterwards, Parmelee worked with both civilians and the military. He flew along the border with Mexico and proved that airplanes could be used as great spotters for people like Pancho Villa to keep them out of our country.
He dropped bombs and showed that that was feasible. He also took pictures from airplanes that show you could do reconnaisance that way.

Source : Kevin Lavery,  “Before Lindbergh and Earhart, Michigan pilot launched commercial air freight industry“, WKAR History, November 6, 2015.

1913 : The Great Storm of 1913
Nov 7 all-day

The Great Storm of 1913

In early November 1913, not quite 19 months after the loss of the Titanic in midatlantic, an autumn gale descended on the Great Lakes.

“Gales of November” – like the one that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald in the 1970s – are a fact of life for Great Lakes mariners, but this one was anything but ordinary. Meteorologists now believe that a blast of cold polar air met a warm, moist air mass entrained in a low-pressure cell moving up from the Gulf of Mexico through the U.S. heartland, and the result was a violent weather “bomb” and the worst recorded storm in Great Lakes history.

The storm lasted four days (November 7-12, 1913), with sustained winds as high as 75 miles per hour, freezing temperatures, white-out blizzard conditions, and mountainous seas. Though the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weather bureau (forerunner of the U.S. Weather Bureau) issued storm warnings on Friday morning, November 7, the warnings contained no hint of anything more than 50-mile-per-hour winds for Friday and Saturday.

Most ships were making their final trips of the season; their captains knew that as autumn turned to winter the weather would only get worse, and then the lakes would freeze. Across the Great Lakes, hundreds of ships left port that weekend, heading directly into the jaws of what became a survival storm.

On the ocean, with sea room, a well-found ship can often survive by running off before a storm until it blows out. On the Great Lakes there is never sufficient sea room. In the driving snow, ship masters could only guess where the treacherous shores lay. Ships iced up and became topheavy; some turned turtle. By Monday evening 19 ships had sunk, another two dozen were driven ashore, and at least 238 sailors had lost their lives.

The city of Cleveland, buried under 22 inches of snow that drifted up to second-story eaves, and facing shortages of milk, bread, and meat, was confronting the worst natural disaster in its history.

White Hurricane recreates the four-day storm with narrative intensity and factual depth. To make sense of this big, sprawling, multifaceted story, author David Brown develops it chronologically and focuses on the most exciting human dramas. One or two ships in each of the four hardest hit lakes – Superior, Huron, Michigan, and Erie – carry the narrative, while other disasters are reported more briefly as they occur. The featured ships are those that left in the newspaper archives and other original and secondary sources the richest, most exciting, most mysterious, and most humanly moving stories. The destructive impacts ashore – especially the privations in Cleveland – weave another narrative strand. On Lake Huron, for example, we meet the Regina, a small Canadian package freighter, as it takes on cargo Thursday at Port Huron. On Sunday, despite gale-force winds, the Regina, the Charles S. Price, and the H.A. Hawgood all leave the sheltered St. Clair River to steam north on Huron. The Regina gets as far north as Saginaw Bay before turning back. The Price and Hawgood also turn around. By dark, the Hawgood is stranded on a Canadian beach and the other ships are missing. Residents of Harbor Beach, Michigan, hear the whistle of a ship in distress just offshore, but can do nothing. The Revenue Cutter Service (forerunner to the U.S. Coast Guard) sends its only Lake Huron rescue vessel to Lake Erie to aid a vessel that, it turns out, doesn’t need help. Later, the bodies of Regina’s crew and the wreckage of one of her lifeboats wash ashore on the Canadian side of the lake. Intermingled are bodies from the Charles S. Price, one reportedly even wearing a Regina life jacket – leading to an enduring mystery concerning what exactly happened out there. Excerpt from : White hurricane : a Great Lakes November gale and America’s deadliest maritime disaster / David G. Brown. Camden, Me. : International Marine/McGraw-Hill, c2002. 250pp. Available through interlibrary loan.

Lou Blouin, “White Hurricane”, Found Michigan, November 7, 2013.

Also available Multimedia Slideshow

Erika Blake, The Great Storm of 1913, Wreck Diving Magazine, Issue 14

Additional Sources:


Wikipedia entry

1913 Great Lakes Storm Kills over 250, Destroys 19 Ships,

Great Lakes Storm of 1913, Yooper Steez.

…”HELL HATH’ NO FURY LIKE A GREAT LAKES FALL STORM”………. GREAT LAKES WHITE HURRICANE NOVEMBER 1913 …… : Article by William R. Deedler, Weather Historian, WFO Pontiac/Detroit Mi via NOAA website.

1936 : Charles Diggs Sr. Elected to Michigan Senate
Nov 7 all-day

On November 7, 1936, Charles Diggs Sr. became only the second African American and the first African American Democrat elected to the Michigan Senate.

Diggs had a personal story of traveling to Lansing in 1937 for his first session in the Legislature, and then being denied a room because of his race at the Olds Hotel across the street from the State Capitol. Diggs was forced to live during the week in one of Lansing’s segregated neighborhoods. Diggs responded with a series of bills aimed at strengthening Michigan’s civil rights laws, and the Diggs Law (Equal Accommodations Act of 1938—Act 117, signed by Governor Frank Murphy) made discriminatory service based on color, race or creed a misdemeanor.

Charles Diggs Sr., a mortician and successful businessman from Detroit’s Black Bottom and Paradise Valley area, became interested in politics later in life.  He was one of the founders of the Michigan Federated Democratic Clubs, which encouraged many black Michiganders to switch their party allegiance from Republican to Democrat — and, in some cases, to run for office.

His son Charles Diggs Jr. made more history in 1955 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming the first black person from Michigan to serve in the U.S. Congress. Diggs Jr. was also one of the original 13 founders of the Congressional Black Caucus, along with John Conyers, Shirley Chisholm, and Charlie Rangel, and was the Caucus’s first chairman.

Sources :

Amy Elliott Bragg, “The House of Diggs“, Little Detroit History Letter, March 3, 2017.

Ken Coleman, “Charles Diggs Sr: Black Bottom and Paradise Valley business mogul“, Michigan Chronicle, February 8, 2017.

Charles Diggs Sr. wikipedia entry.

1950 : Alexa Irene Canady Born, First African American Neurosurgeon
Nov 7 all-day

Dr. Alexa Irene Canady

Alexa Irene Canady (born November 7, 1950) is a retired American medical doctor specializing in neurosurgery. She was born in Lansing, Michigan and earned both her bachelors and medical degree from the University of Michigan. After completing her residency at the University of Minnesota in 1981, she became the first black person to become a neurosurgeon. Canady specialized in pediatric neurosurgery and was the chief of neurosurgery at the Children’s Hospital in Michigan from 1987 until her retirement in 2001. In addition to surgery she also conducted research and was a professor of neurosurgery at Wayne State University. After her retirement, she moved to Florida and maintained part-time practice at Pensacola’s Sacred Heart Hospital.

The rest of the story:

Her mother was an educator and former national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She also spent years being active in civic affairs within the city of Lansing.  Her father was a dentist. Her parents attended Fisk University where they met and later married on her mother’s 18th birthday right before her father’s deployment during World War II. Her father is also a graduate of Dentistry of Meharry Medical College and her mother is a graduate of Fisk University. Canady’s parents taught her about the importance of education and hard work as a child, which would help her ultimately graduate from high school with honors.

Canady and her younger brother were raised outside of Lansing and were the only two African-American students in their school. They faced many obstacles throughout their school years. However, despite these obstacles, Canady stood out among her peers academically, both in the classroom and by earning high scores on her tests in school.  She graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Medical School.

Despite her academic accomplishments, Dr. Canady still faced challenges as the first African American woman in her field. On her first day of residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital in 1975, she was tending to her patients when one of the hospital’s top administrators passed through the ward. As he went by, she heard him say, “Oh, you must be our new equal-opportunity package.” Just a few years later, while working as a neurosurgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 1981 to 1982, her fellow physicians voted her one of the top residents.

During her career, Dr. Canady was awarded multiple honorary degrees for her accomplishments and services to her her profession.

In 1989, Canady was inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, and in 1993 she also received the American Medical Women’s Association President’s Award.

In 2002, the Detroit News named Dr. Canady Michiganer of the Year.

Sourcse :

Alexa Canady wikipedia entry

Changing the Face of Medicine, courtesy of the National Institutes of Health.

1950 : Yellow Oleomargarine Becomes Legal in Michigan
Nov 7 all-day

Durkee’s Yellow Oleomargarine Millions are enjoying (1949) advertisement

Because of opposition from the state’s dairy industry, citizens of Michigan had to pass a statewide referendum to allow the sale of yellow oleomargarine.

On Nov. 7, 1950, Michiganders marched to the polls and voted for the right to — buy colored oleomargarine.


The spread we call margarine was invented as a substitute for butter. The dairy lobby, working to stifle competition, had successfully opposed efforts to color the margarine to look more like butter. In fact, some states had laws that required oleo, as it was sometimes known, to be colored pink so that consumers would not be confused — and so that the stuff would look nasty. In some places, shoppers had to pay an extra tax to get yellow margarine. There was even yellow oleo smuggling. Michigan was one of seven states where the manufacture and sale of yellow oleomargarine was a crime.

Older Michiganders remember buying margarine in bags that contained a capsule of food coloring. They broke open the food coloring and mixed it with the margarine to make it look edible. Yummy. Uncolored margarine, a chemical cousin of shortening, is almost white.

The last state to legalize yellow oleomargarine was the dairy state of Wisconsin.

Sources :

Historical Society of Michigan

Joe Grimm, “THIS WEEK IN MICHIGAN: Voters approve yellow margarine”, Detroit Free Press, November 5, 2006.

1970 : First Pigs vs. Freaks Charity Football Game Held in East Lansing
Nov 7 all-day

In the late 1960s, many young people protested against the customs and traditions of society. These young people who called themselves “hippies” thought people should always say what they feel and act accordingly. The hippies let their hair grow long, wore odd-looking clothing, many refused to work, and large numbers used drugs, such as marijuana and LSD. Around the country law enforcement officers were committed to enforcing the laws on the use of illegal drugs. When a hippie was arrested, some members of their group would attempt to disrupt the court proceedings by shouting and calling the police officers “pigs,” while still others formed large groups outside of the building chanting and protesting.

In the fall of 1970, a citizen called the East Lansing Police Department to report that trespassers that looked like “hippies” were on the playing field of a local high school. When the officer arrived he asked the longhaired young men to leave the field. They refused. During the ensuing conversations the hippies or “freaks” challenged the “pigs” to a football game. The officer accepted the challenge.

On November 7, 1970, police officers from surrounding agencies, the “Pigs,” met the “Freaks” for a football game on that same field. Over 7,000 fans watched the Freaks legally yell at the Pigs as they won the game 12-7. A comradery developed between the two groups and a total of six Bull Bowls were held at the MSU stadium to accommodate the large group of fans. The police ran onto the field in their red and white uniforms while the younger men of the Freaks team, most with long hair, beards, and mustaches, wore black uniforms and had a marijuana leaf painted on their helmets. Danny Thomas, television star and founder of St. Jude’s hospital, made a personal appearance to thank everyone involved for the donations made to St. Jude’s. In 1972, a home movie of the game brought national awards to Jack Epps, its producer, that led to an NBC movie along the theme of the Pigs and Freaks game of 1972–the only game the Pigs won 14-13.


‘Pigs vs. Freaks’ Charity Football Game, Lansing State Journal, January 4, 2015.

Bull Bowls – Pigs vs. Freaks, Lansing Police Department Historical Web Site.

The Pigs vs. the Freaks / produced by Jack Epps, Jr. ; directed by Jack Epps, Jr., Jeff Jackson. [Taos, N.M. : Taos Land & Film], c2011. 1 videodisc (28 min.) : sd., col. ; 4 3/4 in. MSU Kline Digital/Multimedia Center GV959.53.E27 P54 2011 VideoDVD : A documentary about year three of the Bull Bowl, an annual charity football game between East Lansing police and students at Michigan State University.

Also available for purchase.

Pigs-Freaks rivalry returns to spotlight

Panel discussion to recall charity gridiron battles; Panel discussion to recall charity gridiron battles, April 25, 2003. Includes article by Hugh Leach, Lansing State Journal.

Bill Iddings, “The ‘Paper Freak’ looks back at football days that weren’t”, Muskegon Chronicle, September 1, 2010.

1972 : Michigan Voters Approve Daylight Savings Time
Nov 7 all-day

Voters approved daylight savings time adding an extra hour of evening sunlight from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.

Source : Historical Society of Michigan

1991 : Magic Johnson Announces He Has AIDS
Nov 7 all-day

Former Michigan State University basketball star Ervin “Magic” Johnson announced that he had tested positive for the AIDS virus.

Although at the time, many though Johnson would die from AIDS, he would go on to build a business empire, play in the 1992 Olympics, and educate people about AIDS.


Historical Society of Michigan

Kevin Grasha, “20 years ago, HIV ended Magic’s pro career and threatened his life but he never gave up”, Lansing State Journal, November 7, 2011.

Michigan Every Day (Feb. 28, 1977)