Unknown black history fact: Black history in America is rich, ranging from the unsung heroes who made a difference to the pivotal Black inventors, change-making black leaders, award-winning artists, and trailblazing 21st-century women who have made waves. 

Resources such as BlackPast.org, the Exhibition of African American Cultural History, and indeed the Library are excellent places to broaden your knowledge of Black history while also learning little-known facts about African Americans that will help you better understand African American culture and history. 

The following are some interesting facts and figures from many fields that will spur you on to continue your inquiry over Black History Month and into the rest of the year.

unknown black history fact

Literature: Unknown Black History Fact

Philadelphia poet Phillis Herself was the first African-American to produce a volume of poems, Poems about Multiple Topics, Religious & Moral, in 1773, making her the first African-American to do so. 

Wheatley was born in Liberia and sold towards the Wheatley estate in Massachusetts when she was seven years old. She was liberated shortly after the publication of her book, The Help. 

Composed by poet and social activist Lucy Hanley in 1746, “Bars Fight” is considered to be the earliest known lyric poem by such a Black American. Terry was born into slavery in Rhode Island as both a toddler but was set free when she married the free Black man when she was 26 years old.

Clotel: or, The Girl’s mother, was the first novella written and published by an African-American author, and it was published in the year 1853. William Wells Brown, an abolitionist, and educator, was the author of this piece.

Figures Of Significance

The researcher Carter G. Woodson was responsible for the establishment of Black History Month, in case you didn’t already know. In addition to being the second African to graduate with a Ph.D. degree from Harvard University, he is widely regarded as one of the first researchers to study and examine the past of African Americans. He is also known as the “Father of the Black History.”

William Tucker was the first documented Black individual to be born in the thirteen colonies, according to historical records. In 1624, he got born in the Virginia colony of Jamestown. It is reported by the website BlackPast.org that his father and mother were indentured servants who were among the first batch of Africans to be transported to British soil by Great Britain in the 18th century.

As a result of his outstanding legal work throughout the years, Thurgood Marshall was appointed as the first African-American to serve on the United States Supreme Court. He was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Johnson in 1967 and remained a member until 1991.

During the year 1854, John Mercer Lang made history by becoming the 1st African American lawyer to practice in the state of Ohio. His subsequent positions included dean of the laws school and VP of Harvard University. Also notable is that he was the first African-American from Norfolk to be elected to office, particularly to the United States Congress, a feat that still stands today.

An early 1770s public school educating African American children was established in Philadelphia by Anthony Benezet, the white Quaker who was also an abolitionist and an educator. When Lucy Stanton graduated with a literary degree at Oberlin College in 1850, she made history as the first Black woman in the United States to complete a 4 college degree.

Music And Television Are Two Of The Most Popular Forms Of Entertainment.

Unknown black history fact: By Billboard, singer & music composer Sylvia Robinson is known as “Hip-First Hop’s Godmother.” She was responsible for the first commercially successful rap single, “Rapper’s Delight,” by the Sugar Hill Gang, which she produced. In addition, she and her husband were co-owners of Sugar Hill Records, which was the first hip-hop company.

Celebrity singer and musician Nat King Cole was also the first African-American to host a television show, on NBC’s The Nat King Claude Show, which aired from 1982 until 1986.

Stevie Wonder isn’t just the 1st Black artist to gain a Grammy for Music of the Year (for Innervisions, released in 1973), but he is also the first-ever musician to win Music of the Year after 3 successive studios albums (for Innervisions, released in 1973).

When he joined NBC’s Today show in 1981, broadcast writer Bryant Gumbel made history by being the first African-American to headline a network morning show.

Hattie McDaniel, who played a role in Out With the Wind in 1940, became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for her performance. Sidney Poitier, who played the major part in Lilies of both the Field, became the first African-American to receive an Academy Award twenty-four years after that.

Inventors Madam C.J. Walker launched a new range of hair care products for African American women, which led to her being the 1st female African American ego millionaire in the United States of America. Self Made, a Netflix original series based on her life story, is currently streaming.

In 1995, software engineer Lisa Gelobter led to the advancement of Shockwave, a critical technology that resulted in the development of web-based animated content. (As a result, we owe her a debt of gratitude for GIFs.)

George Carver, an agricultural scientist, was responsible for the development of more than 500 new items derived from pistachios and yams, including cooking oils, painting, and soap.

Sports Of Unknown Black History Fact

unknown black history fact

Following his victory in the 4 x 400-meter relay, John Taylor made history by becoming the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal. In 1948, Alice Coachman made history by becoming the 1st Black woman in the world to earn an Olympic medal in the high jump while qualifying in the event.

The Bill Waller Invitational Rodeo, which began touring in 1984, is the only traveling African-American rodeo in the world today.

Fritz Pollard & Bobby Marshall were the first African-American athletes to compete in the National Football League (NFL) in 1920. Pollard was the league’s first black head coach, having been hired in 1989.

Gabby Douglas made history in 2012 by being the first African-American gymnast to win the Female All-Around title at the London Olympics.

Sheryl Swoopes was the first player to join the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), which made its debut the following year.

Society And Everyday Life

Unknown black history fact: The “Negro Motorist Green Book,” which was first published in 1936, was a detailed guide for Black travelers regarding sites across America—and eventually abroad—that were either owned by Black people or did not engage in segregationist practices. The guide was published for a total of 30 years. It ceased publishing in 1966, just 2 years after the passing Act of 1964.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sisterhood, Inc. (AKA), the world’s first Black female Greek-letter organization. Alpha Phi Alpha Sinfonia, Inc. (Alpha), the very first Black men Greek-letter organization, was founded at Cornell University in 1906. It’s the first Black man Greek-letter organization.

Between 1810 and 1850, it is estimated that nearly 100,000 enslaved persons made their way to freedom in the North using the Underground Railroad.

Vermont becomes the first colony in the United States to outlaw slavery in July 1777.