Black History Month began back in 1926 as “Negro History Week” created by Carter G. Woodson, an accomplished African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher.
In 1976, it officially became a month long celebration strategically placed on the calendar to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.
As we embark to celebrate the historical significance and accomplishments of African Americans, here are a few of the many accomplishments you might not be aware of:
- In 1908, Jack Johnson became the first African American to hold the heavyweight boxing title. He defended his title successfully through 1915.
- The first black lawyer was John Mercer Langston. He passed the Ohio State Bar in 1854 and went on to become the first ever African American to be elected to public office in 1855.
- In 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first African American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He served until 1991.
- The first ever African American elected to the United States Senate was Hiram Rhodes where he represented Mississippi from 1870 – 1871.
- In 1968, Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Later in 1972, she became the first female African American candidate for the president of the United States.
The contributions African Americans have made to our great country are far too many to list. One thing is certain, every American (black or white) owes it to themselves to take time in February to learn about these contributions. The History Channel is a great place to start. You can begin here.
Take the journey. You will be glad you did.
Vice President – Business Development
Photo Credit: WJHL.com