11 Black History Month Facts
|October 10, 2011||Posted by Darcy Pattison under Civil Rights|
11 Black History Month Facts You Might Not Know About
- At www.yenoba.com/ , you can click on any day and find out that particular day’s important events or people in black history. To try it, click here.
- Did you know the NAACP began on the day when President Abraham Lincoln would’ve turned 100? The date: February 12, 1909.
- Since President Gerald Ford in 1976, every president since has declared every February Black History Month, honoring the many achievements by black Americans and their place in U.S. history. It grew from the original celebration in 1926, called Negro History Week. Why that week in February? It included the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. While it’s widely known as Black History Month, the US Government calls it the African American History Month and has many resources to support it.
- As part of Black History Month, you can celebrate a read-in! Endorsed by the International Reading Association and sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English, you can enrich your experience by choosing books written by African American authors. Find out more at http://www.ncte.org/ .
- In 1927, Little Rock Senior High School (renamed Little Rock Central High School in 1953) was built and named “The Most Beautiful High School in America” by the American Institute of Architects for its combination of Art Deco and Collegiate Gothic styles. Thirty years later, in 1957, it became the ugly scene for the integration of nine black students. In 1998, President “Bill” Clinton designated the school as a National Historic Site, the only operating high school in the U.S. with this distinction and making it a place of hope for a better future for all students.
- Celebrate the International Day of Peace every September 21st. The first Peace Day celebrated? 1982. The United Nations initiated the idea in 1981, with the name changing to International Day of Peace in 2002. Besides many events, concerts, and forums, you can celebrate in a simple, quiet manner, with lighting a candle, meditating, organizing a local event, or honoring its other purpose, Day of Ceasefire—political or personal, working toward more worldwide issues, or, resolving any matters between you and another human being. On September 21, 2012, it will be the 30th anniversary. http://internationaldayofpeace.org/
- In the book The Help, Chapter 14 with Aibileen involves her riding the bus home late the night Medgar Evers was shot outside his home June 12, 1963, later buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The book shows a very shaken Aibileen trying to get home safely, hearing the confirmation of his death, and feeling the implications for their community, especially since it happened five minutes’ drive from her house. Find out more about The Legacy of Medgar Evers at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1294360 .
In 1969, Charles Evers, Medgar’s brother, became the very first black mayor elected in Mississippi. In Decatur, Mississippi, near where Evers tried to register to vote in 1946 and was turned down, there is now a street called Medgar Evers Drive. Medgar Evers’ death stirred activism for civil rights, with many in his funeral procession chanting, “After Medgar, No More Fear!” His county, Newton County, named a black chief of police in 2003, 40 years after Medgar Evers’ death.
- From the December 1999 issue of Ebony, read the excellent, yet concise article “The 20 Most Important Events—in African American History” at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1077/is_2_55/ai_58118328/ .
- A much more detailed article, “Dates Of Remembrance—Important Dates And Events In The Liberation Struggle” covers 1549-2001, at http://www.thetalkingdrum.com/dates.html . Though this article and the previous leave out the past decade or so, they are both worth reading and contain items many people may not know about.
- A few notable names in African American history to research and read about:
- Sojourner Truth
- Frederick Douglass
- Harriet Tubman
- Booker T. Washington
- George Washington Carver
- Dred Scott
- Malcolm Little (Malcolm X)
- Louis Armstrong
- Duke Ellington
- Joe Louis
- Jesse Owens
- Bessie Smith
- Marian Anderson
- Jackie Robinson
- Nat King Cole
- Gwendolyn Brooks
- Muhammad Ali
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Louis Farrakhan
- Emmet Till
- Rosa Parks
- Thurgood Marshall
- Betty Shabazz
- The Thirteenth Amendment (1865) to the U.S. Constitution abolished slavery. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Bill of Rights (1867) gave every individual federal rights, preventing states from choosing to not do so. The Fifteenth Amendment (1870) gave men of all races the right to vote (it took 50 more years for women, not until 1920). The Civil Rights Act of 1957 created the law of making sure voting rights were upheld. Read more from the Library of Congress or the National Archives.
–compiled by Lorri Cardwell Casey