Little Known Black History Facts

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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

A Carter G. Woodson Reader Carter G. Woodson Author

Ice Cream Scoop

Alfred L Cralle invented the ice cream scoop. He received a patent for his invention on February 2nd, 1897.

Hattie McDaniel

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

Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel Carlton Jackson Author

MLB

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

Pitchin' Man LeRoy Satchel Paige Author
Claudette Colvin

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

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

Buffalo Soldiers Julia Garstecki Author

Kentucky Derby

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.

Robert Johnson

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

Phillis Wheatley was the 1st published female African American poet.

Check out some of her work below

Poems of Phillis Wheatley Phillis Wheatley Author

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

Out of No Way: Madam CJ Walker & A'Lelia Walker A Poetic Drama Roje Augustin Author

Harriet Tubman

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

Harriet Tubman Sarah Bradford Author

Betty Boop

The iconic cartoon character Betty Boop was inspired by a Black jazz singer in Harlem.

Wally Amos

Wally Amos is the creator of Famous Amos cookies.

Boxing

Jack Johnson became the first African American man to hold the World Heavyweight Champion boxing title in 1908.

Learn more about Jack Johnson

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson Ken Burns Director

Frederick Douglass

 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

The Life of Frederick Douglas Frederick Douglas Author

Traffic Signal

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.

George Washington Carver Joeming Dunn Author

Lonnie Johnson

Lonnie Johnson is an engineer and inventor. He holds over 80 patents. He is most known for creating the super soaker water gun.

Lonnie Johnson: NASA Scientist and Inventor of the Super Soaker Lucia Tarbox Raatma Author

Bessie Coleman

The first licensed African American Female pilot was named Bessie Coleman.

Fly High!: The Story of Bessie Coleman Louise Borden Author

Malcolm X

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.

Malcolm X: A Biography Steven Takamura Author

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

Benjamin Banneker was credited with helping to design the blueprint of Washington, D.C.

Learn more about Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker Katie Marsico Author

First Black Town in California

Allensworth is the first all-Black Californian township, founded and financed by African Americans.

Lawyer

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

Dorothy Dandridge was the first African American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.

Everything and Nothing: The Dorothy Dandridge Tragedy Dorothy Dandridge Author

Thelonious Monk

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.

The Best of Thelonious Monk: Piano Transcriptions Thelonious Monk Author

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

Black American Experience: Dr. Daniel Hale Williams - First Black Heart Surgeon in America

NASA

Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan were the women behind the NASA space race.

Here’s a movie about their story.

Hidden Figures Theodore Melfi Director

Alberta Williams King

Alberta Williams King (Martin Luther King, Jr’s mother) was shot and killed in Ebenezer Church in 1974.

Author

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

Eyewitness to the Harlem Hellfighters Jill Sherman Author

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.

blackwallstreet

Unfortunately, the worst race riot in this country’s history also happened there. Here are some links about ‘The Black Wall Street.”

Greenwood

The Rise and Fall of Black Wall Street AND The Seven Key Empowerment Principles Robin Walker AuthorAir Atlanta Airlines

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

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?

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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.