Fun Facts about Black History Month



Each year, we celebrate Black History Month during the month of February. While many of us know the history of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks, here are some fun facts to expand your knowledge of black history:

  1. Rosa Parks was not the first woman to refuse to leave her seat on the bus. Fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin was one of the first women to take a stand against this racist practice, saying, “It felt like Sojourner Truth was on one side pushing me down, and Harriet Tubman was on the other side of me pushing me down. I couldn’t get up.” After being arrested and put in jail for her protest, she was one of the four women who challenged this in court.
  1. It became illegal for people of differing races to marry in 1664 and did not become legal until 1967.
  1. The practice of inoculation was first introduced by a slave named Onesimus. It is believed that Onesimus was born in Africa in the late 1600s and was given as a gift to a Puritan church minister named Cotton Mather. Onesimus told Mather about the tradition in Africa to extract material from an ill person and scratch it into the skin of a healthy person to make them immune to the disease. Considered dangerous at the time, this practice was later used to inoculate soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
  1. In addition to the United States, Canada also celebrates Black History Month in February while the United Kingdom celebrates it in October.
  1. Black History Month became official in 1926 after being proposed by Carter Godwin Woodson, who was an author and historian. It was originally just a week-long celebration, but expanded to a month-long celebration in 1976.
  1. Martin Luther King, Jr. began college at the young age of 15…as did former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
  1. Black inventors are responsible for important inventions, including the hair brush, lawn mower, refrigerator, air conditioner, gas masks, blood banks and 3D graphics…to name a few.
  1. February was chosen because it was the birth month of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
  1. The first self-made female millionaire was black—Madam C.J. Walker made her fortune by developing a line of beauty and hair care products for black women.
  1. On February 10, 1964, the Civil Rights Act passed, which made it illegal for public facilities to deny access to anyone because of ethnic origin or race. Additionally, segregation in schools was also made illegal.

 


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