The month of February is an extraordinary month for more than one reason. Love is exhibited at the highest level during this month, and we are constantly reminded of the great accomplishments of African Americans.
Black History Month was founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson who was known for nationally writing about African American contributions. Dr. Woodson graduated from Harvard University with a PhD in history. He originally set the time of year as the second week in the month of February between Frederick Douglass’ and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. Dr. Carter G. Woodson spent his life as a historian collecting, recording and publishing African American history. In 1976, Black History Month became official, and today we still celebrate today.
To celebrate Black History Month 2014, muse offers a list of African American History Facts.
- George Carruthers led the group of scientists who created the far ultraviolet camera/spectrograph. It was used during Apollo 16 flight to the moon in 1972. He was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.
- Pearl Bailey had a long career as an entertainer then decided to go to Georgetown University in 1985 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in theology.
- Harry Belafonte is a world renowned entertainer and human rights activist.
- Nathaniel Alexander invented the folding chair.
- C. B. Brooks invented the first street sweeper, which was a truck with brooms.
- Alfred L. Cralle invented the first ice cream scoop.
- David Crosthwait, Jr. created the system of heating for the Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall in New York.
- W. E. B. Du Bois was an educator, writer, and civil rights leader who conducted the first case study of an African-American Comunity
- Sarah E. Goode invented the first folding bed, which folded into a cabinet.
- Dr. George Franklin Grant was a dentist, golf fan, and Harvard faculty member who invented the world’s first golf tee.
- Madame C. J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove) became the first African American woman millionaire because of her creations of African American hair products.
- Thomas Edison invented the first light bulb.
- Lewis Howard Latimer innovated the light bulb by using carbon filaments which lengthened light bulb life.
- John Lee Love invented the portable pencil sharpener, called the “Love Sharpener” in 1897.
- Elijah McCoy was an engineer from Canada who invented an automatic lubricator for oiling steam machines.
- Garrett Morgan invented a breathing device in the form of a canvas hood. He became famous for his invention after using his devise to save workers trapped in a toxic fume-filled tunnel.
- Reverend Frederick L. Shuttlesworth was born in Alabama. He was the pastor at Bethel Baptist Church which was bombed three times during the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement. He worked and led alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He is the person who called Dr. King to come and help the movement in Birmingham. Rev. Shuttlesworth created the AMCHR (Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights) when the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) was banned from the state of Alabama.
- A. H. Parker High School in Birmingham, Alabama was the first high school for African Americans in the city. It was named Industrial High School and it was the largest African American high school in the world.
- 16th Street Baptist Church is a church the world knows for the racially motivated bombing on September 15, 1963 which killed four little girls. Their names were Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Denise McNair, and Carole Robertson.
- Rebecca Lee Crumpler is the first African American woman to earn a medical degree from the New England Female Medical College. She published “Book of Medical Discourses,” in 1883, focusing on family healthcare.
- Lemuel Haynes was the first black minister to serve for a white congregation, and he became the first black person to recieve an honorary degree from a white school Middlebury College in 1804.
- Malcolm X was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom in New York City in 1965. He was a prominent civil rights activist.
- Sydney Portier was the first African American to win an Academy Award for his performance in Lillies in the Field.
- Robert H. Lawrence, Jr. is the first African American to be trained as an astronaut. He died in a plane crash before he was able to go on his first space mission.
- Guion “Guy” Bluford followed Robert Lawrence’s example and legacy and became the first black man in space.
- Huey P. Newton is the co founder of the Black Panther Party.
- Nelson Mandela was an Anti-Apartheid activist in South Africa. He spoke out and demonstrated against the segregation in South Africa. He was arrested and spent 27 years in prison. He spent 18 of the 27 years at Robben Island Prison.
- In 2008, President Barack Obama was elected into his first term as President of the United States. In 2012, he was reelected as President of the United States. He is the first African American president in the history of the United States.
These are just a few of the countless black history facts, inventions and accomplishments. We are extraordinary people with extraordinary ideas and dreams, and we can make them happen. Today we have more opportunities than our ancestors had, and look at the inventions we have today that were created by African Americans. Black History Month is the greatest reminder that everyone and anyone is capable of anything that they put their minds to. Nothing comes easy, you must always work hard for everything you believe in and get it done. Good luck in your blessed future, and always dream BIG.