Black History Month Facts You Probably Didn’t Know
February is known as Black History Month, and it is a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements made by African Americans in U.S. history. Continue reading for some interesting facts about Black History Month, the people who contributed, and the important events that took place.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded on February 12, 1909. A group of African American leaders joined together to form the most influential civil rights organization.
2. First Lawyer
John Mercer Langston became the first black man to become a lawyer in 1854. In 1855, he was elected to the post of Town Clerk in Brownhelm, Ohio. This made him one of the first African Americans to be elected to public office in America. If his last name sounds familiar, it is. John Mercer Langston was the great uncle of Langston Hughes, famous poet of the Harlem Renaissance.
3. Supreme Court Justice
Thurgood Marshall was the first ever African American to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
4. First Woman Rep
The first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives was Shirley Chisholm. She represented New York state in 1968, and in 1972, she was the first major party African American candidate to run for president of the United States.
5. First African American Nominated Director
John Singleton earned an Academy Award nomination for his 1991 film Boyz N the Hood. He was just twenty-two years old when he made the film, and the youngest person to be nominated for that award.
6. Medical Degree
Rebecca Lee Crumpler studied at New England Female Medical College (now known as the Boston College School of Medicine) and became the first African American woman in the country to earn a medical degree in 1864.
|Related: I’m Black and I Specifically Chose Not to Attend an HBCU
7. Self-Made Millionaire
After a rough childhood, Madam C.J. Walker became the first female self-made millionaire after starting her own hair product company. She toured the country and gave demonstrations on her line of African American hair care products.
8. Oscar Winner
Hattie McDaniel was the first African American to win an Academy Award. She earned this honor for her performance in Gone with the Wind in 1940.
Barack Obama became the first African American president in 2009. He served for two terms from 2009-2017.
10. Celebration Outside the U.S.
The United States is not the only country that celebrates all the great things accomplished by African Americans. Canada started celebrating in 1995 but was officially recognized by a bill in 2008, which received unanimous approval. The United Kingdom also celebrates Black History Month in October.
11. Black History Month as Inspiration
Did you know that Black History Month inspired many black history celebrations, including Juneteenth? Juneteenth is a holiday that celebrates the abolition of slavery in Texas in June 1865.
12. Morgan Freeman Doesn’t Support Black History Month
The Academy Award-winning actor does not support the idea of black history being celebrated during a period of one month. He believes that black history is American history and should be celebrated and studied year round.