I Didnt Know I Was Black

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As an adult with the right look, Rosa Parks was also the secretary of the NAACP, and was both well-known and respected — people would associate her with the middle class and that would attract support for the cause. But the struggle to end segregation was often fought by young people, more than half of which were women.

As Martin Luther King Jr. The night before the march, Dr. King began working on his speech with a small group of advisers in the lobby of the Willard Hotel. The original speech was more political and less historic, according to Clarence B. Jones, and it did not include any reference to dreams. King transformed his speech into a sermon.


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Onstage near Dr. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream…. And while this improvised speech given on that hot August day in was not considered a universal success immediately, it is now recognized as one of the greatest speeches in American history. For more information on the March on Washington, visit pbs.

Few details are known about the birth of Onesimus, but it is assumed he was born in Africa in the late seventeenth century before eventually landing in Boston. One of a thousand people of African descent living in the Massachusetts colony, Onesimus was a gift to the Puritan church minister Cotton Mather from his congregation in Onesimus told Mather about the centuries old tradition of inoculation practiced in Africa.

1. America didn't see it coming.

By extracting the material from an infected person and scratching it into the skin of an uninfected person, you could deliberately introduce smallpox to the healthy individual making them immune. Considered extremely dangerous at the time, Cotton Mather convinced Dr. Zabdiel Boylston to experiment with the procedure when a smallpox epidemic hit Boston in and over people were inoculated.

I didn't know - Am I Black?

But it was four Pennsylvania Friends from Germantown who wrote the initial protest in the 17 th century. The Dublin Monthly Meeting reviewed the protest but sent it to the Quarterly Meeting, feeling it to be too serious an issue for their own meeting to decide. Over the centuries, this rare document has been considered lost twice. Most recently it was rediscovered in and is now at Haverford College Special Collections.

In the late 15 th century, the advancement of seafaring technologies created a new Atlantic that would change the world forever. As ships began connecting West Africa with Europe and the Americas, new fortunes were sought and native populations were decimated. With the native labor force dwindling and demand for plantation and mining labor growing, the transatlantic slave trade began. The Transatlantic Slave Trade was underway from , shipping more than 12 million African slaves across the world.


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Of those slaves, only Over years, the majority of slaves 4. Brazil was also the last country to ban slavery in By the time the United States became involved in the slave trade, it had been underway for two hundred years. The majority of its , slaves arrived between and , representing a much smaller percentage than most Americans realize. While Jewish and African American communities have a tumultuous shared history when it comes to the pursuit of civil rights, there is a chapter that is often overlooked. In the s when Jewish academics from Germany and Austria were dismissed from their teaching positions, many came to the United States looking for jobs.

Due to the Depression, xenophobia and rising anti-Semitism, many found it difficult to find work, but more than 50 found positions at HBCUs in the segregated South.

Lacey Schwartz didn't know she was black, but her black friends did

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 At a time when both Jews and African Americans were persecuted, Jewish professors in the Black colleges found the environment comfortable and accepting, often creating special programs to provide opportunities to engage Blacks and whites in meaningful conversation, often for the first time.

In the years that followed, the interests of Jewish and African American communities increasingly diverged, but this once-shared experience of discrimination and interracial cooperation remains a key part of the Civil Rights Movement.


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  • Reeves had been born a slave but escaped West during the Civil War where he lived in what was then known as Indian Territory. He eventually became a Deputy U. Marshal, was a master of disguise, an expert marksman, had a Native American companion, and rode a silver horse. His story was not unique however.

    11 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About… Black History Month

    In the 19 th century, the Wild West drew enslaved Blacks with the hope of freedom and wages. When the Civil War ended, freedmen came West with the hope of a better life where the demand for skilled labor was high. These African Americans made up at least a quarter of the legendary cowboys who lived dangerous lives facing weather, rattlesnakes, and outlaws while they slept under the stars driving cattle herds to market. While there was little formal segregation in frontier towns and a great deal of personal freedom, Black cowboys were often expected to do more of the work and the roughest jobs compared to their white counterparts.

    Loyalty did develop between the cowboys on a drive, but the Black cowboys were typically responsible for breaking the horses and being the first ones to cross flooded streams during cattle drives. The iconic cartoon character Betty Boop was inspired by a Black jazz singer in Harlem.

    These Historical Figures Were Black?!

    For many African-Americans, February is a time of reflection and celebration. Many look back on the trials and tribulations that have oppressed our people and show their appreciation for the brave men and women who fought to make a better way of life for the next generation. Figures such as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and others have been etched into my brain since third grade. For many years, however, the struggle that these courageous pioneers went through was my only perspective on black history.

    While slavery and the civil rights movement are key components of our story, they are not our whole story. I believe growing up in a majority-white public school system blinded me to that fact.

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    The second semester of my freshman year, I took an African-American studies course that was taught by professor Joy Thompson. In that class, I learned how my ancestors were far more than slaves and disenfranchised people. I learned that my ancestors were powerful African rulers and dignitaries such as Mansa Musa and Queen Tiye , who created some of the richest and most successful societies ever. I learned that my ancestors created the University of Timbuktu, which was the first university on the planet. I learned that my ancestors engineered their own versions of Wall Street that focused on black-owned businesses in both Durham, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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