9 Black History Facts You Should've Learned In School, But Probably Didn't

Harriet Tubman artwork
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In honor of Black History Month, I wanted to shine a light on the important historical facts you should've learned in school...but didn't.

When I was in school, the only time we studied black history was in February. And even then, the information we were taught barely reached the surface of what should constitute as a "history lesson." 

In my opinion, black history shouldn't only be taught in February. It should be integrated into every history lesson because, like other cultures, our history is vast and it's impossible to learn everything you should know in a month. 

Take the time to study black history, even after Black History Month ends. But to get you started, here are the ten most unknown facts about black history. 

Black History Month Was Orginially Called "Negro History Week"

Black History Month

"Negro History Week" was started in 1926 by an African American historian and journalist named Carter G. Woodson. The week was celebrated in February in order to coincide with both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass' birthdays.

However, a few black educators proposed lengthening the week to an entire month in 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month was in 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio, and six years later President Gerald Ford recognized the celebration as a month-long opportunity to focus on a somewhat neglected culture. 

Gerald Lawson Is To Thank For Video Games

Gerald Lawson meme

Video games would be nothing without Gerald "Jerry" Lawson. He was one of the few African American men in the engineering industry at his time and he's responsible for creating the video game cartridge. 

"The Carolina Twins" Weren't Performers, They Were Slaves

The Carolina Twins

You might've heard (or seen pictures) of these twins. Millie and Christine McCoy, also known as "The Carolina Twins," "The Two-Headed Nightingale," and "The Eighth Wonder of the World" were twins who were conjoined at the lower spine. They travelled around the world and performed in freak shows. But it wasn't by choice. They were slaves who were bought when they were just 10-years-old and forced to perform until they were emancipated in 1863.

Lincoln University Was Founded By African-Americans

Lincoln University

The first higher level education institution founded by African-Americans was, Lincoln University, and it was created in 1854 in Pennsylvania.  The university was originally called Ashmun (named after Jehudi Ashmun) changed their name to Lincoln University after Abraham Lincoln's assassination. 

Martin Luther King Jr. Started College At A Very Young Age

Martin Luther King Jr.

It should come as no surprise Martin Luther King Jr. was a very educated man. His mother was a school teacher who taught her son how to read before he even started attending school, so it makes sense he was able to start Morehouse College at only 15-years-old. 

Fun fact, another well-known African-American started college at 15, too. Politician Condoleezza Rice started her education at the University of Denver when she was barely in her teens. 

Shirley Chisholm Was The First Black Presidential Candidate

Shirley Chisholm

Shirley Chisholm was the first black women to be elected to Congress in1968. And if that's not enough, she made history when she became the first black woman to run for President of the United States with the Democratic Party. 

Sarah Rector Was Worth Millions At Just 10-Years-Old

Sarah Rector meme

Sarah Rector was once the richest black child in America. But have you ever heard her name? Probably not. 

In the 1990s, Sarah received millions of dollars after oil was found on her leased Oklahoma farm. At 10-year-old, she went from being poor to being given $15,000 per month, which back then (and even now, TBH) was a ton of money!

Sarah later attended Tuskegee University, married (but divorced later on in life), had three children, and lived a very comfortable life.

Civil Rights Activist Bayard Rustin Was Openly Gay

Bayard Rustin

Like Martin Luther King, Jr., Bayard Rustin was a civil rights leader who fought for the freedom of black people. He actually worked with Dr. King on multiple projects. And while he's known for promoting nonviolence throughout the movement, many weren't aware that he was openly gay. 

Barack Obama Is A Grammy Award Winner

"Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of the Hope" book by Barack Obama

You know Barack Obama for being the first black President of the United States, but did you also know he won a Grammy for his audio book, "Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of the Hope," which was originally published in July 18,1995?!

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