Know Your History!
Up to the early 20th century, most American knowledge of Black history was limited to the African American struggle through slavery and emancipation. The significance of Black history is recognition of the advancements and accomplishments of a group of people once defined by the Constitution as three-fifths of a person. While slavery in America hosts the background of Black history, the African American impact on history reaches beyond the country’s early history, as African Americans have made significant contributions.
African-American Facts for Week of: January 3, 2016
January 3, 1969
Louis Stokes is sworn in as the first African American Congressman
Louis Stokes is sworn in as the first African American congressman from the state of Ohio. He will serve more than ten terms in Congress.
January 4, 1777
Prince Hall, founder of the first African American Masonic lodge petitioned the Massachusetts legislature for fund to return to Africa. The plan is the first recorded effort by African Americans to return to their homeland.
January 4, 1971
Congressional Black Caucus organized
The Congressional Black Caucus is an organization representing the black members of the United States Congress. Membership is exclusive to African-Americans.
January 5, 1911
Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity founded
At Indiana University, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. was founded by Elder W. Diggs, Bryan K. Armstrong, John M. Lee, Harvey T. Asher, Marcus P. Blakemore, Guy L. Grant, Paul Caine, George Edmonds, Ezra D. Alexander and Edward G. Irvin.
January 5, 1943
George Washington Carver Day
January 5 is George Washington Carver Day in honor of the brilliant agricultural chemist who died on this day in 1943. Nicknamed “the Peanut Man” and the “Wizard of Tuskegee,” Carver headed the agricultural department of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and was one of the most prominent scientist of his day. He was renowned for finding new uses for everyday items. Carver’s research in improved farming techniques helped to revolutionize farming in America. He once wrote, “I wanted to know the name of every stone and flower and insect and bird and beast.”
January 7, 1950
The James Weldon Johnson Collection opens at Yale
The James Weldon Johnson Collection opens at Yale University. It includes the papers of Johnson, Langston Hughes, W.E.B. Du Bois, Richard Wright, Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston, and many writers of the Harlem Renaissance.
January 7, 1955
Marian Anderson made debut at Metropolitan Opera
Marian Anderson made debut at Metropolitan Opera House as Alrica in Verdi’s Masked Ball. She was the first Black singer in the company’s history.
January 8, 1815
Black Battalion Fights in Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans, the last battle of the War of 1812, was fought. Black troops, the Battlaion of Free Men of Color and a Battalion from Santa Domingo supported Andrew Jackson in the campaign against the British.
January 8, 1912
African National Congress founded
January 9, 1866
Fisk University established. Rust College (Miss.) and Lincoln (Mo.) were also founded in 1866.
January 9, 1914
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. founded
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. was founded at Howard University. Among the founders were Langston Taylor, Leonard F. Morse and C.I. Brown. Special charter members included William F. Vincent, I.C. Scruggs and Walter F. Tebles.
Knowing our own history, or the history of our culture, is important because it helps us to know who we are while molding the future. Being familiar with past events gives us the ability not only to learn from past mistakes but also from the successes.
To me, the omission of any group from history teachings results in a limited understanding of history’s relationship with the present and future. Know your history.
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