Black History Month celebrates important people and events in the history of the African diaspora, as well as the contributions of African-Americans throughout US History. Some people may be aware of the most prominent Black figures, such as Rosa Parks, Madame CJ Walker, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, etc. However, as the month ends, let’s look into some little known fun facts and moments in Black History.
Father of Black History
Carter G. Woodson, also known as the “Father of Black History”, started Negro History Week in 1926. It later got extended into Black History month.
Black History Month celebrated differently…
Black History Month is celebrated differently around the world. In the United States and Canada, it is celebrated in February. However, in Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, it is celebrated in October.
MLK and Maya Angelou connection
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination is the same day as Maya Angelou’s birthday. After MLK’s passing, Maya Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday. Instead, she sent flowers to Mrs. King on that day every year until her passing.
Betty Boop was inspired by a Black Harlem jazz singer named Esther Jones, also known as “Baby Esther”.
First Black Billionaire
Robert Johnson, the founder of BET, was the first Black Billionaire. Oprah and Michael Jordan are also amongst the list of Black Billionaires.
Many people are familiar with Rosa Parks’ crucial role in the Montgomery bus boycott during the Civil Rights movement. But few people may know that there were actually a number of women before Parks who refused to give up their seat on the same bus system. One of the women was Claudette Colvin, a 15 year old young lady, who refused to give up her seat nine months prior to Parks.
Madam CJ Walker, who was born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana, became wealthy after inventing a line of African-American hair care products. She also established Madame CJ Walker Laboratories.
First licensed African-American female pilot
Bessie Coleman was born in Texas in 1892. She was inspired to explore aviation after hearing cool stories from WWI soldiers when they returned home. At the time, she faced double backlash by being African-American and by being a woman. She then traveled to France to pursue her dreams, where she learned to fly and was awarded her international pilot’s license.
Legendary tennis player Arthur Ashe was the first Black player selected to join the United States Davis Cup team and remains the only black man to have won the singles title at Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the US Open. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993.
Sarah Rector, who was born in 1902, became known as the “richest colored girl in the world” by the age of 11. Rector’s family received a land alottment under the Treaty of 1866. Her father decided to lease a parcel of her land to the standard oil company. Sarah’s income grew to about $300/day, which is more than $8000 in today’s money.
As Black History Month concludes, let’s continue to celebrate the achievements and contributions that African-Americans have made to US History.
About The Author:
Alexandria Jordan is an on-air host and red carpet correspondent with AfterBuzz TV and Black Hollywood Live. She is passionate about all things entertainment and loves connecting with people who share similar interests.
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