Black History Month

TKA is proud to join our nation in honoring Black History Month throughout the month of February! Also known as National African American History Month, this annual celebration commemorates the contributions and achievements by Black Americans. Because it is important that these conversations continue outside of school, we offer these resources and talking points so you can celebrate Black History Month at home too. 

Believing that God has created all people in His image, The King’s Academy values, cultivates, and celebrates racial, cultural, ethnic, and economic diversity on campus. View TKA's Valuing Diversity webpage.

The History Behind “Black History Month”

  • The precursor to Black History Month was created in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson announced the second week of February to be "Negro History Week."

  • Woodson chose February for the weeklong celebration, to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass (February 14) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12).

  • It wasn’t until 1976 that President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month. Ford said, “In celebrating Black History Month, we can take satisfaction from this recent progress in the realization of the ideals envisioned by our Founding Fathers. But even more than this, we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 

  • “African American History Month is a reminder to all of us to continue Carter G. Woodson's commitment—to bring greater regard for the contributions of African Americans to this country, to understand and overcome a legacy of oppression and racism, and, in so doing, to further racial harmony among us all."   

  • Colors that represent Black History Month: red - the blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry, and shed for liberation; black - black people whose existence as a nation, though not a nation-state, is affirmed by the existence of the flag; green - the abundant natural wealth of Africa.

  • It began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada, while in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom it is observed in October.

  • The theme of Black History Month 2021 is "The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity," chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

Student Poetry Contest!

Details herePoems and videos due on Friday, February 19.

African Americans in History

The Undefeated 44:  African Americans Who Shook Up the World

Artistic portraits and short bios of “a collection of dreamers and doers, noisy geniuses and quiet innovators, record-breakers and symbols of pride and aspiration.”

 

 

 

 

"Firsts": African American Accomplishments

  • Heavyweight Champ: Jack Johnson became the first African American man to hold the World Heavyweight Champion boxing title in 1908. He held onto the belt until 1915.

  •  First Lawyer: John Mercer Langston was the first Black man to become a lawyer when he passed the bar in Ohio in 1854. When he was elected to the post of Town Clerk for Brownhelm, Ohio, in 1855 Langston became one of the first African Americans ever elected to public office in America. John Mercer Langston was also the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, famed poet of the Harlem Renaissance.

  • Famous Protestors and Activists: While Rosa Parks is credited with helping to spark the Civil Rights movement when she refused to give up her public bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955–inspiring the Montgomery Bus Boycott—the lesser-known Claudette Colvin was arrested nine months prior for not giving up her bus seat to white passengers.

  • Supreme Court Justice: Thurgood Marshall was the first African American ever appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson and served on the court from 1967 to 1991.

  • Eminent Scientist: George Washington Carver developed 300 derivative products from peanuts among them cheese, milk, coffee, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils and cosmetics.

  • First Senator: Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first African American ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He represented the state of Mississippi from February 1870 to March 1871.

  • First Woman Representative: Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives. She was elected in 1968 and represented the state of New York. She broke ground again four years later in 1972 when she was the first major party African American candidate and the first female candidate for president of the United States. She survived three assassination attempts during her campaign for the 1972 Democratic nomination to the U.S. presidency.

  • Self-Made Millionaire: Madam C.J. Walker was born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana and became wealthy after inventing a line of African American hair care products. She established Madame C.J. Walker Laboratories and was also known for her philanthropy.

  • Oscar Winner: In 1940, Hattie McDaniel was the first African American performer to win an Academy Award—the film industry’s highest honor—for her portrayal of a loyal slave governess in Gone With the Wind.

  • First Professional Black Baseball Player: On April 5, 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play Major League Baseball when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. He led the league in stolen bases that season and was named Rookie of the Year. 

  • First African American Pitcher Inducted Baseball Hall of Fame: Satchel Paige (1971)

  • First in Space: Guion Bluford, was first African American in space, 1983. Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to go into space aboard the space shuttle Endeavor in 1992.

  • First Black Billionaire: Robert Johnson became the first African American billionaire when he sold the cable station he founded, Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 2001.

  • First Black President: In 2008, Barack Obama became the first Black president of the United States.

  • First Black Vice President: In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first woman of African or Asian descent to become vice president. Harris's mother immigrated to the United States from India and her father immigrated from Jamaica.

  • First in Space: Guion Bluford, was first African American in space, 1983. Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to go into space aboard the space shuttle Endeavor in 1992.

  • First Licensed African American Female pilot was named Bessie Coleman.

  • First African American to Win Nobel Peace Prize: Ralph J. Bunche, 1950, for mediating an Arab-Israeli truce. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the second African-American Peace Prize winner in 1964

  • First Black American to Win Nobel Prize for Literature: Toni Morrison, 1993

  • First Black Olympic medalist (Summer games): George Poage, 1904, bronze in 200 m hurdles and 400 m hurdles.

(2:27 m) Excerpt of Martin Luther King, Jr. speech, "We Shall Overcome"

 MLK Quote 2.jpg

  • "A Knock at Midnight" Sermon. (Martin Luther King Jr.’s sermon “A Knock at Midnight” addresses the need for all Christians to  align their hearts to the work of God.)

 Black History: Interesting Facts!

  • Of the 12.5 million Africans shipped to the New World during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, fewer than 388,000 arrived in the United States.  Of those slaves, only 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage. Over 400 years, the majority of slaves (4.9 million) found their way to Brazil where they suffered incredibly high mortality rates due to terrible working conditions. Brazil was also the last country to ban slavery in 1888.

  • Originally established to educate freed slaves to read and write, the first of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities was Cheyney University in Pennsylvania, established in 1837. Today, there are 107 HBCUs with more than 228,000 students enrolled. Fifty-six institutions are under private control, and 51 are public colleges and universities.

  • One in four cowboys was Black, despite the stories told in popular books and movies. In fact, it's believed that the real “Lone Ranger” was inspired by an African American man named Bass Reeves.

  • Interracial marriage in the United Sates was banned in 1664 and not overturned until 1967.

  • The earliest recorded protest against slavery was by the Quakers in 1688 in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Quakers, also known as “The Society of Friends,” have a long history of abolition.  They saw the slave trade as a grave injustice against their fellow man. In their protest they stated, "Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse towards us, then if men should robb or steal us away, & sell us for slaves to strange Countries, separating housband from their wife and children….”

  • Jazz, an African American musical form born out of the blues, ragtime and marching bands, originated in Louisiana during the turn of the 19th centur

Resources:

(3:30 m) "We Shall Overcome" is a gospel song which became a protest song and a key anthem of the civil rights movement. This video has images of the civil rights movement.