About Black History Now

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Black American History is American history. It’s a rich, fascinating and inspiring series of valuable contributions and impressive accomplishments. And it is full of surprising facts.

  1. Did you know that the city of Chicago was founded by an African American entrepreneur, Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable? Or that the shoe manufacturing industry was revolutionized by an African American inventor, Jan Ernst Matzeliger? Or that the North Pole was co-discovered by a Black American explorer, Matthew Henson?
  2. Did you know anyone whose life has ever been saved by a blood transfusion has African American Charles Drew to thank? A pioneer in blood banking during World War II, Dr. Drew’s accomplishment of reducing blood to plasma has saved millions of lives. He was honored with many professional appointments, received the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal and was even on a U.S. postage stamp. Yet most Americans – even African Americans – don’t know who he is. And there are many, many more…
  3. Did you know George Grant was a Harvard-educated dentist whose 1899 golf tee invention is the blueprint for today’s models.
  4. Did you know Madam C.J Walker was a Black self-made millionaire in the early 1900s and was one of the first women of any race to achieve such phenomenal success.
  5. And did you know the first internationally acclaimed African American athlete was not a boxer, or a basketball, football or baseball player, but a cyclist who won the world one-mile track cycling championship in 1899. His name was Major Taylor.
  6. Do you know about Salem Poor? He was a Black American soldier who was cited for heroism and valor at Bunker at Bunker Hill during the Revolution War. He also served at Valley Forge and White Plains. Beyond that we know very little. Not even the year he died, because back then, the achievements of Black Americans were largely unrecorded. But did you know in 1975, Salem Poor was officially recognized by the U.S. Postal service with a commemorative stamp….just as Dr. George Washington Carver was in 1948… Jackie Robinson in 1982… Louis Armstrong in 1995…and 105 other Black Americans on postage stamps since the first, Booker T. Washington, appeared in 1940.
  7. You might have known that Bessie Coleman was the first female Black American to receive a pilot’s license, but did you know that as a Black woman she was unable to gain admission to American flight schools. So she earned money as a manicurist, studied French at night and attended flight school in France in 1920 and became a pilot at a time that female flyers were virtually nonexistent in the U.S.
  8. Everyone knows that Jackie Robinson was the first Black American to play Major League baseball. But did you know that he was the first athlete in the history of UCLA to letter in four sports in the same year: baseball, football, basketball and track…and that Robinson reached the semifinals of the National Negro tennis tournament and also won several swimming championships UCLA.

The list goes on and on. African American achievement has influenced every aspect of American history and culture. Did you know?