Today marks the beginning of February’s Black History Month, a month dedicated to celebrating and remembering the history, accomplishments, and triumphs of black American culture.
According to biography.com/blackhistory, Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Rev. Jesse E. Moorland wanted to highlight the often overlooked role black people played in both American and world history.
To accomplish this goal, they co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
The pair hoped that their various projects would help instill their race with a sense of pride.
Woodson later founded “Negro History and Literature Week” in 1920, while he was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity at Harvard University. Woodson later became the second black person to receive a degree from Harvard.
He chose February as the month of celebration to honor Abraham Lincoln, and leading abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Black History Month is now widely recognized and celebrated throughout the month of February.
The following are some interesting facts about influential African Americans according to biography.com/blackhistory:
- Tyra Banks was the first African-American woman on the covers of GQ magazine and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
- African-American surgeon Charles R. Drew is often credited with the invention of the first large-scale blood bank.
- African-American mechanical engineer, David Crosthwait, Jr. created the heating systems for the Rockefeller Center and New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
- In 1899, African-American golf fan Dr. George Franklin Grant received a patent for the world’s first golf tee. Grant, however, never marketed his invention, instead giving the tees away to friends and fellow golfers.
- Dr. Maulana Karenga created the African-American holiday, Kwanzaa, in 1966.
- African-American inventor Garrett Augustus Morgan created the gas mask—then became renowned for using his mask to save workers trapped in a toxic fume-filled tunnel.
- Jazz drummer William “Cozy” Cole broke Billboard records in 1958 with the single “Topsy,” when it became the only drum solo to sell more than one million records.
- Comedian Bill Cosby’s 1984 sitcom, The Cosby Show, became the highest-ranking sitcom for 5 years in a row. The program aired for eight years.
- Music legend Aretha Franklin is one of the most honored artists in Grammy Award history, with 20 wins to date.
- In 1980, singer and performer Michael Jackson secured the highest royalty rate in the music industry—37 percent of the album’s profit.
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