Can you believe that it is already February? February is Black History Month. Black history is something that EVERYONE should know about. It’s American history. There are a lot of little-known black history facts out there. It’s a shame you won’t find most of this information in many of the history books. I have readers from all different walks of life. This post is to enlighten and educate everyone about things you may not have known.
Little Known Black History Facts
Black History Month
The celebration of Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Learn more about Carter G. Woodson below
Ice Cream Scoop
Alfred L Cralle invented the ice cream scoop. He received a patent for his invention on February 2nd, 1897.
In 1940, Hattie McDaniel was the first African American performer to win an Academy Award and an Oscar—the film industry’s highest honor—for her portrayal of a loyal slave governess in Gone with the Wind.
Learn more about Hattie McDaniel
Satchel Paige was the oldest rookie to play in the MLB at 42 years old. He once drew a crowd of over 75,000 people.
Here’s more info about the legend Satchel Paige here
While Rosa Parks is credited with helping to spark the Civil Rights movement when she refused to give up her public bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955–inspiring the Montgomery Bus Boycott— the lesser-known Claudette Colvin was arrested nine months prior for not giving up her bus seat to white passengers.
Shirley Chisolm survived three assassination attempts during her campaign for the 1972 Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidency.
The Buffalo Soldiers
The Buffalo Soldiers were the all-black regiments in the US Army. They were created in 1866.
Here’s some history about The Buffalo Soldiers
Isaac Burns Murphy was the first person to win three Kentucky Derbies. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1956.
Freedom National Bank
In 1965 Jackie Robinson helped establish Freedom National Bank, the 1st African-American-owned commercial bank.
Before Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan joined the billionaire’s club, Robert Johnson became the first African American billionaire when he sold the cable station he founded, Black Entertainment Television (BET), in 2001.
Phillis Wheatley was the 1st published female African American poet.
Check out some of her work below
The Slave Trade
Of the 12.5 million Africans shipped to the New World during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, fewer than 388,000 arrived in the United States.
Madam C.J. Walker
Madam C.J. Walker was the first female self-made millionaire.
Learn more about Madam C.J. Walker
Harriet Tubman was an escaped enslaved woman who became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War, all while carrying a bounty on her head. But she was also a nurse, a Union spy, and a women’s suffrage supporter. Tubman is one of the most recognized icons in American history, and her legacy has inspired countless people from every race and background.
Read more about the icon below
The iconic cartoon character Betty Boop was inspired by a Black jazz singer in Harlem.
Wally Amos is the creator of Famous Amos cookies.
Jack Johnson became the first African American man to hold the World Heavyweight Champion boxing title in 1908.
Learn more about Jack Johnson
Frederick Douglass sits in the pantheon of Black history figures: Born into slavery, he made a daring escape north, wrote best-selling autobiographies, and became one of the nation’s most powerful voices against human bondage. He is one of the most influential civil and human rights advocates of the 19th century.
Learn more about Frederick Douglas below
Garrett A. Morgan created a traffic signal. He sold it to General Electric.
George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver developed 300 derivative products from peanuts, among them cheese, milk, coffee, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils, and cosmetics.
Lonnie Johnson is an engineer and inventor. He holds over 80 patents. He is most known for creating the super soaker water gun.
The first licensed African American Female pilot was named Bessie Coleman.
Malcolm X was an African American leader in the civil rights movement, minister and supporter of black nationalism. He urged his fellow black Americans to protect themselves against white aggression “by any means necessary,” a stance that often put him at odds with the nonviolent teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr. His charisma and oratory skills helped him achieve national prominence in the Nation of Islam, a belief system that merged Islam with black nationalism.
Get a better understanding of Malcolm X by checking out the book below.
Hiram Rhodes Revels
Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first African American ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He represented the state of Mississippi from February 1870 to March 1871.
Benjamin Banneker was credited with helping to design the blueprint of Washington, D.C.
Learn more about Benjamin Banneker
First Black Town in California
Allensworth is the first all-Black Californian township, founded and financed by African Americans.
John Mercer Langston was the first black man to become a lawyer when he passed the bar in Ohio in 1854.
Janet Emerson Bashen
Janet Emerson Bashen is the first African-American woman to hold a patent for a software invention.
Dorothy Dandridge was the first African American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
Thelonious Monk was one of the greatest jazz composers and a strong leader in the jazz revolution.
For more info about Thelonious Monk, click the image below.
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams
The first successful open-heart surgery was performed in 1893 by a black surgeon named Dr. Daniel Hale Williams.
Here’s a DVD about Dr. WIlliams
Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan were the women behind the NASA space race.
Here’s a movie about their story.
Alberta Williams King
Alberta Williams King (Martin Luther King, Jr’s mother) was shot and killed in Ebenezer Church in 1974.
Harriet Wilson was the 1st African-American to publish a novel in 1859.
Word War I
The Harlem Hellfighters spent 191 days in the trenches during World War I, more than any other American unit.
Learn more about the Harlem Hellfighters below
Black Wall Street
Greenwood is a neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The community was known as Black Wall Street. It was one of the country’s most successful and wealthiest black communities.
Unfortunately, the worst race riot in this country’s history also happened there. Here are some links about ‘The Black Wall Street.”
Air Atlanta Airlines was founded in 1984 by Michael Hollis. The airlines served over a dozen cities. They shut down in 1987 due to bankruptcy.
Wheeler Airlines was the first black-owned airline certified in the US by the FAA.
It sucks that I didn’t learn most of these facts while in school. Many of these are truly little-known black history facts that no one knows about. I’m in my thirties, and I can guarantee the younger generation doesn’t know this stuff either.
Did you already know any of these facts? Have you ever heard of Black Wall Street before? What other black history facts do you know?
Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.