Discover the facts about Black history every child and parent should know with these ten important facts. They will inspire children to learn and appreciate the significant achievements of African-Americans throughout the entire year, not just during Black History Month, fostering a greater understanding of the rich cultural heritage and history.
Black people have contributed inventions, science, theories, music, life lessons, and other elements to American culture for millennia. And for far too long, they have yet to receive the recognition their achievements merit. Black History Month is a moment to reflect on the unjust obstacles faced by African-Americans throughout history, as well as a time to celebrate their achievements despite these obstacles.
It is true that you cannot learn about hundreds of years of contributions in a single month, but we have compiled ten interesting facts about Black history to get you started. These will not only dispel some common misconceptions but also hopefully inspire children to learn about the significant accomplishments of Black people throughout the year.
African Heritage Facts Everyone Should Know
1. There is a reason why February is Black History Month.
The fact that Black History Month is not observed in February is just coincidental. It was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Their achievements as abolitionists have been lauded and cherished in African communities for generations. What began as a single week known as “Negro History Week” parallel to their birthdays was expanded into a month-long commemoration in 1976, when President Gerald Ford declared February to be Black History Month.
2. Slavery is not the only factor that has made life challenging for African-Americans.
Even though slavery ended in 1865, many systemic obstacles continue to make it difficult for Black Americans to survive and thrive. For instance, redlining in the 1930s utilized color-coded maps to indicate high-risk investment locations, which coincided with primarily African neighborhoods. This continues to make home ownership and developing wealth through home ownership challenging for Black people today.
3. The Civil Rights Act makes it illegal to deny Black people service based on their race, color, or religion or to segregate them.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. In addition to outlawing segregation, it outlawed the use of federal monies for discriminatory actions. The 1964 Civil Rights Act influenced the 1968 Voting Act and Fair Housing Act.
4. Immigrants are also a part of Black history.
Black History Month may have originated in the United States, but it is vital to remember that it celebrates many cultures. According to Pew Research, one in ten Black Americans are immigrants and contribute to the rich tapestry of American growth and history. Kwame Ture, who was born in Trinidad and reared in the United States, was a notable political leader and organizer during the civil rights struggle. Colin Powell, meantime, was the son of Jamaican immigrants.
5. Each Black History Month has a specific theme.
Each year, the president of the United States adopts a particular topic for Black History Month. Black Resistance is the subject for 2023, according to The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, which recognizes “past and continuing oppression, in all forms, including the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms, and police killings.” Black Health and Wellbeing, African Americans and the Vote, The Crisis in Black Education, and The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity were some of the previous themes for Black History Month.
6. Seneca Village, an affluent African enclave, existed where Central Park is now in New York City.
From 82nd Street to 89th Street, the Upper West Side was home to a largely African community of approximately 200 people. Prior to the Civil War, the village had the highest concentration of African householders. African People were able to live there and exercise voting rights as property owners. They liked their schools, churches, and gardens until the construction of Central Park compelled them to leave.
7. African Americans with disabilities are also a part of black history.
Although Black History Month has been observed for a number of years, the achievements of Black persons with disabilities are rarely acknowledged or appreciated. Despite this, 5,6 million Black Americans are disabled. In contrast, neither Harriet Tubman’s epilepsy nor Muhammad Ali’s dyslexia is commonly known or discussed. Not mentioning or recognizing the limitations of Black achievers leads to their erasure and hinders inclusion.
8. Rosa Parks was not the first African-American woman to refuse to give up her bus seat.
In 1955, when she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger in Alabama, Rosa Parks is credited with launching the civil rights movement and Montgomery bus boycott. Yet, Claudette Colvin was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat several months before Rosa Parks.
9. The terms black person and person of color are not interchangeable.
There is a reason why February is known as Black History Month and not Multicultural History Month. While every Black person is a person of color, not every person of color is Black. The term “people of color” refers to those who do not identify as white or as having European ancestry. When discussing exclusively Black issues or achievements, it is essential to utilize the term Black. Referring to people of color when you genuinely mean Black people may only contribute to the erasure of complexities experienced by Black people.
10. Black History Month is observed in countries other than the United States.
The month-long festival began in the United States but is also observed in Canada. Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands also celebrate in October.