Black American History
Learn more about Black Americans the facts that are not always taught in schools about Black Americans, their contributions, their leaders, the events, and the laws that helped shape America.
Many of us grew up watching Westerns on TV and at the movies. Seldom did anyone other than a white person play the hero. Books and textbooks also presented a heavily whitewashed picture of the Old West. However, the real Wild West was filled with colorful characters of all races and creeds. If the history of Texas is any indication, perhaps as many as one in four cowboys were black.
Many people have read the story of how George Washington Carver invented peanut butter. Others are familiar with the story of Sarah Breedlove, aka Madam C. J. Walker, the inventor of beauty products. Here are some black inventors you may not know.
Literature in particular has been a space for black authors to tell their stories authentically, and bookworms seeking good reads can choose from an array of fiction, poetry, historical texts, essays, and memoirs. From literary icons to fresh, buzzworthy talent, we're highlighting 25 books by African-American authors you should add to your reading list today.
Plenty would not exist were it not for black pioneers; here’s a very small glimpse at what modern day inventions came from the African American community.
"The Eighth Illinois National Guard Regiment, which during the Great War came to be known as the 370th U. S. Infantry, was the only regiment in the entire United States Army that was called into service with almost a complete complement of colored officers from the highest rank of Colonel to the lowest rank of Corporal."By Emmet J. ScottSoldiers of the 370thThe men of the 370th fought with distinction in France and Belgium during the Great War, mostly alongside French poilus because the U.S. Army was segregated. Many officers in the American high command, including General Pershing, thought that black soldiers should only be used as truck drivers and laborers. They also did not appreciate the fact that the unit's officers were black. Nevertheless, the soldiers fought hard. The Germans called them "Black Devils."
The mission of the African American Civil War Museum is to correct a great wrong in American history which ignored the contributions of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) in keeping America united under one flag and ending slavery in the United States.
Female African-American Inventors who help shape our everyday lives.
Discover the people and events that shaped African American history, from slavery and abolitionism to the Harlem Renaissance and Civil Rights Movement.
The black history that pre-dates the slave trade is rarely taught in schools and is almost never acknowledged. As a result many African-Americans grow up believing that slavery is the only event to occur in their history before the civil rights movement, which is not accurate.
The history of African Americans in the United States has been a paradox of incredible triumph in the face of tremendous human tragedy. This site serves as a portal to the vast and growing array of information on the Web and in other sources on the thirty seven million African Americans in the nation.
African American History Timeline: 1619 - 2008 . 1619 The first African American indentured servants arrive in the American colonies. Less than a decade later, the first slaves are brought into New Amsterdam (later, New York)
Some of the Inventions African Americans created in America and their contribution to the advancement of America
This is a list of African-American authors and writers, all of whom are considered part of African-American literature, and who already have Wikipedia articles. The list also includes non-American authors resident in the USA and American writers of African descent.
The American Civil war was fought over the right to own slaves and not State rights. The State rights ruse was merely an attempt to justify slavery. There is nothing noble or honorable about committing treason or enslaving ones fellow man. The American Civil war is the only war that the loser’s monuments and beliefs are proudly on display. Only in America can traitors be treated as heroes, confederates are not heroes they were traitors who committed treason plain and simply. We do not honor Benedict Arnold who committed treason and we should not honor confederates or the confederacy who committed treason against our nation.
The first African American to assume the presidency (2009–2017) and previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois (2005–2008).
President Barack Obama was elected the first African-American president of the United States on November 5, 2008, transcending centuries of inequality in America.
An American attorney and politician who served as the 44th President of the United States from January 20, 2009, to January 20, 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the first African American to serve as president. He was previously a United States Senator from Illinois and a member of the Illinois State Senate.
Accounted for up to 25 percent of workers in the range-cattle industry from the 1860s to 1880s, estimated to be between 6,000 and 9,000 workers. Typically former slaves or born into the families of former slaves, many black men had skills in cattle handling and headed West at the end of the Civil War. Though the industry generally treated black men equally to white men in terms of pay and responsibilities, discrimination persisted, though to a lesser extent than in other industries of the time.
Black Lawmen, Outlaws and Cowboys of the old west you might be saying with wonderment and head scratching! “Why that’s an oxymoron! I’ve never heard of such a thing!”. Yeah, Yeah I know you haven’t because they were literally “white washed” (pun intended) out of Old West history.
One in four cowboys was black. So why aren’t they more present in popular culture?
Was a cowboy, rodeo, Wild West show performer and actor. In 1989, Pickett was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
This library of podcasts includes Stuff You Missed in History Class episodes on black history.
A community site dedicated to past influential and living black leaders and the history surrounding them.
Online Resources General Collection National Research.
The Complete List of Genius Black American (African American) Inventors, Scientists, and Engineers with Their Revolutionary Inventions That Changed the World and Impacted History - Part One
The Complete List of Genius Black American (African American) Inventors, Scientists, and Engineers with Their Revolutionary Inventions That Changed the World and Impacted History - Part Two
He worked mostly in Arkansas and the Oklahoma Territory. During his long career, he was credited with arresting more than 3,000 felons. He shot and killed 14 outlaws in self-defense.
Originally were members of the 10th Cavalry Regiment of the United States Army, formed on September 21, 1866, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This nickname was given to the Negro Cavalry by Native American tribes who fought in the Indian Wars. The term eventually became synonymous with all of the African American regiments formed in 1866.
Were African American soldiers who mainly served on the Western frontier following the American Civil War. In 1866, six all-black cavalry and infantry regiments were created after Congress passed the Army Organization Act. Their main tasks were to help control the Native Americans of the Plains, capture cattle rustlers and thieves and protect settlers, stagecoaches, wagon trains and railroad crews along the Western front.
Their duties included escorting stagecoaches, trains, and work parties and policing cattle rustlers and illegal traders who sold guns and liquor to the Indians, but their principal mission was to control the Indians of the Plains and Southwest.
Was an American stevedore of African and Native American descent, widely regarded as the first person killed in the Boston massacre and thus the first American killed in the American Revolution.
They are the famous African-American writers who have fearlessly examined cultural stigmas, provided intimate life details, presented new ideas and created remarkable fiction through literary works. For their prophetic genius, these men and women have received Pulitzer Prizes, NAACP awards and even Nobel Prizes, among other honors.
Journalist, Civil Rights Activist, Author, Government Official. Famed 19th-century author and orator Frederick Douglass was an eminent human rights leader in the anti-slavery movement and the first African-American citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank.
In his journey from captive slave to internationally renowned activist, Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) has been a source of inspiration and hope for millions. His brilliant words and brave actions continue to shape the ways that we think about race, democracy, and the meaning of freedom.
Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
Born into slavery in Maryland, Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom in the North in 1849 to become the most famous "conductor" on the Underground Railroad. Tubman risked her life to lead hundreds of family members and other slaves from the plantation system to freedom on this elaborate secret network of safe houses. A leading abolitionist before the American Civil War, Tubman also helped the Union Army during the war, working as a spy among other roles. After the Civil War ended, Tubman dedicated her life to helping impoverished former slaves and the elderly. In honor of her life and by popular demand, in 2016, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that Tubman will replace Andrew Jackson on the center of a new $20 bill.
Harriet Tubman was an escaped enslaved woman who became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, leading enslaved people to freedom before the Civil War, all while carrying a bounty on her head. But she was also a nurse, a Union spy and a women’s suffrage supporter. Tubman is one of the most recognized icons in American history and her legacy has inspired countless people from every race and background.
A new book and movie document the accomplishments of NASA’s black “human computers” whose work was at the heart of the country’s greatest battles. As America stood on the brink of a Second World War, the push for aeronautical advancement grew ever greater, spurring an insatiable demand for mathematicians. Women were the solution. Ushered into the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1935 to shoulder the burden of number crunching, they acted as human computers, freeing the engineers of hand calculations in the decades before the digital age. Sharp and successful, the female population at Langley skyrocketed.
Shannon LaNier, a TV host in Houston, is pictured in a photo in Smithsonian Magazine alongside his direct ancestor, Thomas Jefferson.By Shamar Walters and Maia DavisShannon LaNier, a ninth-generation descendant of Founding Father Thomas Jefferson and his slave, Sally Hemings, wore the same sort of outfit as his famous ancestor for a Smithsonian Magazine piece, "American Descendants." But LaNier, who is Black, said in the article in the magazine's July issue that he chose not to wear a wig for his likeness of his great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather. “I didn’t want to become Jefferson,” LaNier said. “My ancestor had his dreams — and now it’s up to all of us living in America today to make sure no one is excluded from the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” LaNier, a TV host in Houston who co-authored a book about his family, "Jefferson's Children: The Story of One American Family," also said of the third U.S. president, “He was a brilliant man who preached equality, but he didn’t practice it. He owned people. And now I’m here because of it.” The Smithsonian article features pictures by British photographer Drew Gardner who about 15 years ago started tracking down descendants of famous Europeans such as Napoleon and Charles Dickens to see if they would "pose as their famous forebears in portraits he was recreating," the article said. Then Gardner thought of the U.S.
This is a list of examples of Jim Crow laws, which were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. Jim Crow laws existed mainly in the South and originated from the Black Codes that were passed from 1865 to 1866 and from prewar segregation on railroad cars in northern cities. The laws sprouted up in the late 19th century after Reconstruction and lasted until the 1960s
“It shall be unlawful for a negro and white person to play together or in company with each other in any game of cards or dice, dominoes or checkers.”. “Marriages are void when one party is a white person and the other is possessed of one-eighth or more negro, Japanese, or Chinese blood.”. “Separate free schools shall be established for the education of children of African descent; and it shall be unlawful for any colored child to attend any white school, or any white child to attend a colored school.”. “All railroads carrying passengers in the state (other than street railroads) shall provide equal but separate accommodations for the white and colored races, by providing two or more passenger cars for each passenger train, or by dividing the cars by a partition, so as to secure separate accommodations.”.
John Robert Lewis is an American politician and civil rights leader. He is the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district, serving in his 17th term in the House, having served since 1987, and is the dean of the Georgia congressional delegation.
Peniel E JosephThe Georgia congressman’s life was more complex than tributes might make out. His embrace of Black Lives Matter shows he knew racist oppression never came close to ending. The death of John Lewis, the Alabama-born civil rights activist, Freedom Rider and student leader turned Georgia congressman, represents a generational transition in America’s long struggle for Black freedom, dignity and citizenship. A disciple of Dr Martin Luther King Jr who experienced brutal and repeated acts of violence by racist white law enforcement and vigilantes that left him with permanent physical scars, including a cracked skull, Lewis remained stubbornly resolute in his insistence that Black life mattered. As a student organizer, Lewis braved repeated arrests, jail stints and death threats during protests to end the Jim Crow system of racial segregation that maintained a stranglehold on American democracy. His lifelong quest to create what he later characterized as “good trouble” made him a quintessential figure of the times, one whose authentic love of poor, unlettered peoples was rooted in his own humble origins that began in a shotgun shack in 1940, just outside Troy, Alabama. Lewis’s preternaturally calm demeanor, southern drawl and genuine humility lulled opponents and even friends into underestimating him. In truth, he contained multitudes, a complexity that reflects the richness of the movement and era that shaped him. As chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Lewis matched a personal and tactical commitment to nonviolence with a passion for ending a caste system rooted in racial slavery, segregation, poverty and violence. His youthful militancy was on full display at the March on Washington in 1963, where he vowed to help lead a relentless pursuit of racial justice and citizenship:
While the Emancipation Proclamation freed some slaves in the South in 1863, it wasn’t enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War two years later.By Associated PressJuneteenth commemorates when some enslaved African Americans learned they were free 155 years ago. Now, with support growing for the racial justice movement, 2020 may be remembered as the year the holiday reached a new level of recognition. While the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves in the South in 1863, it wasn’t enforced in many places until after the end of the Civil War two years later. Confederate soldiers surrendered in April 1865, but word didn’t reach all enslaved black people until June 19, when Union soldiers brought the news of freedom to Galveston, Texas. Celebrations have typically included parades, barbecues, concerts and readings of the Emancipation Proclamation. But after massive demonstrations over George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, there has been a seismic shift to further elevate black voices. That desire is being felt as states and cities move to make Juneteenth an official paid holiday.
On the eve of Juneteenth, educators said the history of systemic racism in this country and the contributions of Black people have been erased.By Daniella SilvaA Connecticut fourth grade social studies textbook falsely claimed that slaves were treated just like “family.” A Texas geography textbook referred to enslaved Africans as “workers.” In Alabama, up until the 1970s, fourth graders learned in a textbook called "Know Alabama" that slave life on a plantation was "one of the happiest ways of life." In contrast, historians and educators point out, many children in the U.S. education system are not taught about major Black historical events, such as the Tulsa Race Massacre or Juneteenth, the June 19 commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. As the country grapples with a racial reckoning following the killing of George Floyd in police custody, educators said that what has and what has not been taught in school have been part of erasing the history of systemic racism in America and the contributions of Black people and other minority groups. “There’s a long legacy of institutional racism that is barely covered in the mainstream corporate curriculum,” said Jesse Hagopian, an ethnic studies teacher in Seattle and co-editor of the book “Teaching for Black Lives.”
Lewis Howard Latimer (September 4, 1848 – December 11, 1928) was an American patent draftsman for the patents of the incandescent light bulb, among other inventions. In 1874, Latimer co-patented (with Charles M. Brown) an improved toilet system for railroad cars called the Water Closet for Railroad Cars (U.S. Patent 147,363).
Lewis Howard Latimer was an inventor and draftsman best known for his contributions to the patenting of the light bulb and the telephone.
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, better known as Malcolm X, was an African American minister, and human rights activist who was a popular figure during the civil rights movement. He is best known for his time spent as a vocal spokesman for the Nation of Islam.
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His mother, Louise Norton Little, was a homemaker occupied with the family’s eight children. His father, Earl Little, was an outspoken Baptist minister and avid supporter of Black Nationalist leader Marcus Garvey. Earl’s civil rights activism prompted death threats from the white supremacist organization Black Legion, forcing the family to relocate twice before Malcolm’s fourth birthday.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an African American minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
After his assassination, he was memorialized by Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist minister and civil-rights activist who had a seismic impact on race relations in the United States, beginning in the mid-1950s. Among his many efforts, King headed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Through his activism and inspirational speeches, he played a pivotal role in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the United States, as well as the creation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among several other honors. He continues to be remembered as one of the most influential and inspirational African-American leaders in history.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was a social activist and Baptist minister who played a key role in the American civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968. King sought equality and human rights for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest. He was the driving force behind watershed events such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the 1963 March on Washington, which helped bring about such landmark legislation as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and is remembered each year on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday since 1986.
Racism in the United States has been widespread since the colonial era. Legally or socially sanctioned privileges and rights were given to white Americans but denied to all other races. The KKK, white mobs and other white supremacist groups have killed more Americans than terrorist have. The KKK may have given up their sheets for suites and changed their name to the alt-right or other names to hide who they are, but at their core, they are white people who hate black people, people whose skin is not white and Jews. White Racist Have Been Killing and Terrorizing Black People for Over 150 Years;
Slaves did not have a good life they were not treated as human beings. Slaves were deprived of their liberty, their language, their heritage and their country. Slaves were not allowed to read or write, beaten sometimes until bloody and were often separated from family members. Slaves suffered physical abuse and the America government allowed it. Do not believe the lies Black people did not have a better life when they were slaves. Nobody wanted to be a slave, nor were slaves happy no matter what anyone tells you.
Jason SlotkinA space supply ship carrying some four tons of cargo bound for the International Space Station launched from Virginia on Saturday. The capsule is named for a Black mathematician whose contributions were featured in the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. The S.S. Katherine Johnson, a Northrop Grumman Cygnus capsule, is due to arrive at the International Space Station Monday, bearing some 8,000 pounds of science and research supplies and vehicle hardware. The cargo will help astronauts with a variety of projects: learning about muscle loss using worms; investigating astronauts' sleep quality, experiments for disease treatments; upgrades to the life support systems; testing equipment for moon missions and more. more...
BY EMMETT J. SCOTT, AM., LL.D. - Special Adjutant to Secretary of War
Profiled here are African American men and women who have contributed to the advancement of science and engineering. The accomplishments of the past and present can serve as pathfinders to present and future engineers and scientists. African American chemists, biologists, inventors, engineers, and mathematicians have contributed in both large and small ways that can be overlooked when chronicling the history of science. By describing the scientific history of selected African American men and women we can see how the efforts of individuals have advanced human understanding in the world around us.
Sarah JanuaryThere have been many successful and influential scientists and inventors throughout history. The names of Leonardo da Vinci, Nicolaus Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Nikola Tesla are some of the most common ones we hear, but there are so many out there whose stories are not as well known. The likes of Philo Farnsworth, Dr. Charles Drew, and Lise Meitner are not taught about as readily as others, but their discoveries and contributions have made huge impacts on our everyday lives. Another of those inventors is a man named Elijah McCoy. While there is a chance you might know a bit about him, you are more likely to have heard the phrase tied to his legacy. If you have ever mentioned or heard the expression referring to the "Real McCoy," this is the guy you're referencing. McCoy was a Black inventor who acquired a number of patents during his career, some of which revolutionized the way society functioned. Here's how his name became synonymous with authenticity in the world of 20th-century inventions.
Who Are the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II? The Tuskegee Airmen were dedicated, determined young men who enlisted to become America’s first black military airmen, at a time when there were many people who thought that black men lacked intelligence, skill, courage and patriotism.
Tuskegee Airmen were the first black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC), a precursor of the U.S. Air Force.Trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, they flew more than 15,000 individual sorties in Europe and North Africa during World War II. Their impressive performance earned them more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and helped encourage the eventual integration of the U.S. armed forces.
By Annalisa MerelliOvernight on May 31 and June 1, 1921, in a period of just about 12 hours, the single largest incident of racial violence in American history occurred in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma. “More than a thousand African American homes and businesses were looted and burned to the ground; you had a thriving community occupying more than 35 square blocks in Tulsa that was totally destroyed,” Scott Ellsworth, the author of Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, told Quartz. “It looked like Hiroshima or Nagasaki afterwards.” In a recently discovered account of the massacre, Buck Colbert Franklin, then a lawyer in Greenwood, paints a harrowing picture. “I could see planes circling in mid-air. They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low. I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building,” he wrote. “Down East Archer, I saw the old Mid-Way hotel on fire, burning from its top, and then another and another and another building began to burn from their top.” The destruction of Greenwood began as an attempted lynching of a Black teenager and turned into full-blown destruction perpetrated by a white mob. As many as 300 people were killed, more than 10,000 remained homeless, and according to the Tulsa Race Riot Report of 2001, an estimated $1,470,711 was incurred in damage—equal to about $20 million today.
White supremacist, white nationalist, right-wing extremists, the KKK and other white supremacist groups have killed more Americans than terrorist have. The KKK may have given up their sheets for suits and changed their name to the alt-right or other names to hide who they are, but at their core, they are nothing more than white people who are afraid of and hate people who are not white and Jews. More and more evangelicals and Christian conservatives are falling into the White nationalist/white supremacist category preaching racism, hate, intolerance and violence against people who are white, which is not Christian. White supremacist, white nationalist, right-wing extremists, the KKK and other white supremacist groups are domestic terrorist and should be branded as the domestic terrorist they are.
If Black lives mattered in America, the KKK and other white supremacist groups would be branded as the domestic terrorist groups they are. White supremacist, white racist, white mobs, white nationalist, right-wing extremists, neo-nazis, the KKK and other white supremacist groups have been killing and terrorizing black people for over 150 years. White supremacist, white racist, white mobs, white nationalist, right-wing extremists, neo-nazis, the KKK and other white supremacist groups pose to American citizens has come to the forefront in recent years. Everyone is at risk bullets and bombs do not have a care about the colors of one’s skin or one’s religion. However, white supremacist, white racist, white mobs, white nationalist, right-wing extremists, neo-nazis, the KKK and other white supremacist groups have been killing black people without any repercussion in many cases for over 150 Years.