Little Known Black History Facts
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
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?
You are completely right…it does suck that none of us learned these things in school; I hope they are correcting that now! Our histroy books should reflect all of these as they are such an important part of our history!!! I have heard of Black Wall Street, but I can’t tell you from where!!!
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It is sad that I had to learn about my history outside of school. this is a great post with a lot of great information. The Martin Luther King Mother was a new one for me. very enlightening post.
I was shocked when I found out MLK’s mother was assassinated as well. That really is something that should be taught in schools.
Those who know should teach and spread the word; not belittle someone and tell them they have no excuse for not knowing. How can you research something you know nothing about? Until I left high school I had always assumed the history I learned in school was true and full. It wasn’t until a family member of mine began telling me of things like this that I began to research and read about all of the history that I was never taught. I know that I have friends who are in the same situation and so I make it my goal to open their eyes so that they learn about their past in an empowering way.Thanks for sharing!Great post.
I feel the same way. We have to spread the truth so people will know. As always, thanks for reading!
I am not an American, but I am Black, and hope to visit there someday as I already have both white and black friends and relatives there. This interesting post have really motivated me, there’s so much which we are yet to be told about our History and what we are capable of.
Thank Heavens for a blog like this. Thanks Butler 🙂
I bookmarked already, so I’ll check again.
Thank you. I am glad you checked it out. Be prepared for more great posts.
You’re right, Jason, this stuff should be taught in schools. It would be nice if they would take February – Black History Month – as the time to discuss this subject. Wonder what they would discover if every child – black and white – had to bring one black history fact to school during this month. Wouldn’t that be an interesting experiment. By the way, I did not know about Black Wall Street.
That would be a GREAT experiment. Knowledge is power.
Cool post. Lots of interesting Black history… Some I knew, but lots I didn’t. Amazing we aren’t taught this in school, I agree!
Thank you, love to learn more from you. keep blogging and keep smiling.
Certainly worth visiting this month Jason. There are at least 3 little known black history facts I knew! And another 3 I think I heard along the way. Schools today aren’t really teaching real history. Not like I remember it. Sad for our future.
I feel bad for our future as well.
This post should be shared with educational establishments. Great post.
Great post! Unfortunately I didn’t learn about more than half of this stuff during all the years I went to school. It’s seems like some school districts only focus on a handful of popular successful blacks and students wind up learning about the same people year after year instead of all the other influential people who made a difference. But it’s up to us to seek out more knowledge (because the information is out there) and spread awareness.
It is definitely up to us. We have to educate the younger generation.
Very interesting facts. Thanks for sharing. No, I had not heard of Black Wall Street.
I agree with you, this is american history, not just black history. I knew a few of these (love me some Famous Amos cookies!) But not most of them. Thanks for enlightening us.
I am somewhat embarrassed to say that most of this is news to me. I know a few of these things but not that many. And I was a history major in college. I guess I’m a living example of why we need to have Black History.
Great article Jason! I read a wonderful article on CNN just last week about black cowboys and how much a part of the history of the west they were – and still are – and the photographs were marvelous! I had no idea and that makes me really sad.
I fear that those who have documented our history have excluded many such stories and have no idea how we can begin to rectify that, but since our world is so focused around the Internet these days one way might be for more people to share stories about real people in history. I think we’re all hungry for those stories, which is just one reason why the website Humans of New York has become so popular.
I definitely agree.
How right you are about history. I might add the name of York, who was a slave on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. He, more than the famous Sacagewea, was responsible for the success of that expedition. His exploits and heroism in these travels should be known by more people.
Wow. I didn’t know that info. Thanks for sharing.
Some really interesting stuff and I didn’t know much of it. I’m definitely interested to learn more about black wall street. I think history isn’t really taught well in this country. I felt like all I learned was a skeleton of what happened based on our world views at the time they happened. For that reason, American history becomes white, upper crust, male history. We learn little about the impact of anybody else during that time.
It’s as if someone is deliberately trying not to teach us the history.
Thank you for educating us. Such a history not to forget. And yes, wisdom like this should be discussed more at school.
Very interesting Post. I didn’t know any of these facts.
Jason, I’m sure that our new Congress which is 80 percent white and 80 percent male will make it a priority to get those text books updated. I’m sure we will add a lot more information about the black experience, the femal experience, evolution, etc.; Oh, look! A pig just flew by my window.
So sad how history completely disregards Shirley Chisolm! And I had NO idea about Wally Amos!
Hi Jason…I live in Montreal, Canada and I enjoy your blog…I read it every week….just wanted to let you know this one was fascinating!!…it must have taken quite a bit of research on your part to put it all together!!??…congratulations and keep up the good work!
It took a while to find these facts. Thanks for reading.
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