Nov. 23, 534 BC – Thespis of Icaria reportedly became the first recorded actor to portray a character onstage. Details are sketchy, but Aristotle wrote that Thespis, a Greek poet from Icaria, donned a mask and took on the persona of Dionysus, god of fertility, wine, and the theater. Up to this point, Greek theater mostly consisted of choruses singing songs about Greek myths. Thespis was the first one to actually pretend to be someone else, speaking dialogue from the point of view of that character.
Nov. 23, 1733 – The 1733 slave insurrection on St. John began in what was then the Danish West Indies.
Nov. 23, 1749 - Edward Rutledge, one of South Carolina’s representatives to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, was born in Charleston. Contrary to the majority of his Congressional colleagues, Rutledge advocated patience with regard to declaring independence. At age 26, he became the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Nov. 23, 1765 - Frederick County, Md. repudiated the British Stamp Act.
Nov. 23, 1804 - Franklin Pierce, the 14th President of the United States,was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire.
Nov. 23, 1819 - Union General Benjamin Prentiss was born in Belleville, Virginia. During the Civil War, Prentiss served in a variety of capacities but is best known for defending Arkansas during the Vicksburg campaign.
Nov. 23, 1863 – The Battle of Chattanooga began as Union forces led by General Ulysses S. Grant began to reinforce troops at Chattanooga, Tenn. and to attack the center of Confederate lines around Chattanooga. The lines were successfully broken on Nov. 25.
Nov. 23, 1864 – An 11-day Federal expedition started from Vicksburg, Miss, including skirmishes at Yazoo City, the Big Black River Bridge on the Mississippi Central Railroad, and Concord Church that effectively cuts Confederate Lt. General John Bell Hood’s communication with Mobile, Ala., and captured large quantities of supplies and munitions at Jackson, Miss.
Nov. 23, 1903 – Opera singer Enrico Caruso made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, appearing in “Rigoletto.”
Nov. 23, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that Sheriff M.M. Fountain was on a business trip to San Antonio, Texas.
Nov. 23, 1905 – The Monroe Journal reported that a Mr. Hunter of Dallas County, Ala. had arrived in Monroeville, Ala. during the previous week and began at once upon his new duties as Town Marshall. “He has the reputation of being no respecter of persons when it comes to ‘pulling’ violators of the law,” The Journal reported.
Nov. 23, 1911 – The Conecuh Record reported that temperatures reached 20 degrees during a cold snap on this day and the next.
Nov. 23, 1911 – The Butler County News newspaper in Georgiana, Ala. was established.
Nov. 23, 1918 – During World War I, Army Pvt. William Kelsaw of Camden, Ala. “died from disease.”
Nov. 23, 1926 – In Lovecraftian fiction, it was on this day that George Gammell Angell, a Professor Emeritus of Semitic Languages at Brown University, died from a heart attack. Born in 1857, Angell pioneered the research on the worldwide Cthulhu cult. He originally appeared in Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu.”
Nov. 23, 1936 – Life magazine, founded by Henry R. Luce, began publication and was the first American magazine to make its name on the strength of its photojournalism. The cover of the first issue was a Margaret Bourke-White photo of Fort Peck Dam, which the Army Corps of Engineers was building on the Missouri River in Montana.
Nov. 23, 1948 – National Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Hack Wilson died at the age of 48 in Baltimore, Md. During his career, he played for the New York Giants, the Chicago Cubs, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979.
Nov. 23, 1955 – A meeting of alumni and friends of the University of Alabama was scheduled to be held in the Evergreen (Ala.) High School lunchroom at 7 p.m. for the purpose of organizing an alumni group in Conecuh County. Mack English was acting temporary chairman for the local alumni.
Nov. 23, 1961 - Alabama dramatist William Berney died in Los Angeles, Calif.
Nov. 23, 1961 – Conecuh County (Ala.) Sheriff James Brock announced that the reward money leading to information on “recent violence” had climbed to $1,300. A reward of $900 was to go to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the “bombing” of Ivey Chevrolet Co. on Oct. 23. A reward of $400 was to go to anyone with information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the throwing of paint removing substances on automobiles.
Nov. 23, 1961 – The Evergreen Courant reported that William C. Braxton Jr. of Owassa, Ala. was serving as the chief storekeeper aboard the anti-submarine warfare support aircraft carrier USS Antietam, which was based out of Pensacola, Fla. Braxton, the son of Mr. and Mrs. William C. Braxton Sr., attended Evergreen High School before joining the Navy in November 1945.
Nov. 23, 1963 – The BBC broadcasts "An Unearthly Child" (starring William Hartnell), the first episode of the science-fiction television serial of the same name and the first episode of “Doctor Who,” which is now the world's longest running science fiction drama.
Nov. 23, 1964 – J.R. Harper was named president of the Monroeville (Ala.) Chamber of Commerce, and Bob McMillon was named first vice president and president elect. B.M. Davis was named second vice president and R.B. Williams III was named treasurer.
Nov. 23, 1965 – Poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht was born in Glen Cove, N.Y.
Nov. 23, 1971 - The Washington Senators announced that they would now use the name Texas Rangers after their move to Arlington, Texas.
Nov. 23, 1973 - More than 100 ducks were knocked out of the sky during a storm over Stuttgart, Arkansas. Some of the ducks were jarred by irregularly-shaped hail, others were frozen, picked up by a tornado, coated in ice high above the clouds, and then dropped.
Nov. 23, 1976 – Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville, Ala. was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.
Nov. 23, 1980 – Ishmael Beah, the author of 2007’s “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” was born in the fishing town of Mattru Jong, Sierra Leone.
Nov. 23, 1984 - Boston College quarterback Doug Flutie threw a last-second, 64-yard pass to beat the University of Miami, 47-45. The 30,235 fans in the Orange Bowl had already begun to celebrate the victory they were sure their Hurricanes had won, and they were stunned when Flutie’s pass found his teammate (and roommate) Gerard Phelan in the end zone.
Nov. 23, 1985 – Evergreen, Alabama’s Christmas parade was scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. and was to feature bands from Evergreen High School, Conecuh County High School and Southern Normal.
Nov. 23, 1988 - The New York Yankees signed free agent Steve Sax to a three-year contract.
Nov. 23, 2001 - A crowd of 87,555 people watched the Texas Longhorns beat the Texas A&M Aggies, 21-7. The crowd was the largest to see a football game in Texas.
Nov. 23, 2006 – A series of bombings killed at least 215 people and injured 257 others in Sadr City, making it the second deadliest sectarian attack since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.
Nov. 23, 2015 – The first frost of the year was observed in Excel, Ala.