The other day I was having a conversation with a friend when the topic of “African-American”, i.e., black-American history came up. And all the famous Blacks that she could regurgitate were Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. Really.? As though all through out black-American history only these two have done anything of significance, with all due respect. Or that the history of great blacks in America started in 1950 and ended in the 1970’s. It is not her fault. For me this has been a point of great irritation for years.
REAL history tells us that Blacks have made an indelible mark on the prosperity, richness, and greatness of this nation, during the Revolutionary War, during Reconstruction, and to the present. And most certainly black-Americans, and blacks in general, have been doing great and extraordinary things long before the 1950’s. But one would not be aware of this if they depended on Hollywood or the government controlled educational system to tell him.
REAL history reveals that many blacks have held seats in the Congress, as well as throughout the several
states, and have been nominated for the Supreme Court as early as the 1800’s, long before Thurgood Marshall. Blacks have invented things that have made the nation, and the world, a much better place. Blacks in America have certainly made their mark on this nation’s politics and societal culture, and the world. It is indeed a severe egregious insult to so narrowly define black-American history, or blacks in general, to just the Civil Rights Era of the 1950’s and 60’s.
Here are just a sample of the erased history of American blacks that may leave little wonder why young blacks lack self-pride, or the lack of respect from society in general for the invaluable contributions of blacks in America:
- Crispus Attucks, during the famed Boston Massacre led a group of men to protest British occupation. He became the first to die for America’s freedom.
- Wentworth Cheswell, 1776 he signed a document in which he pledged, “at the risk of . . . live and fortune,” to take up arms to
resist the British. He was the first black-American to hold public office in America. From 1768 until 1817 he held public office in Massachusetts.
- Elizabeth Freeman, was of the first to sue, and win, in Massachusetts declaring that slavery was unconstitutional, in 1781. It led to the end of slavery in Massachusetts.
- Benjamin Banneker, son of a free black-American woman and slave, assisted in the mapping of the District of
Columbia and have many inventions accredited to his name, that include building a wooden clock, modeled after a pocket watch, that kept accurate time up until his death.
- Reverend Henry Highland Garnet, was the first black-American to speak and give a sermon in the Congress, in 1865 after the Republicans push through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution[Abolish Slavery]. [American History in Black & White, by David Barton]
- John Rock, was the first black-American to be nominated to the Supreme Court, in 1865.[American History in Black & White, by David Barton]
- P.B.S Pinchback, free-born in Georgia, was one of hundreds of blacks to become legislators in their states, as
members of the Republican Party, following the war between the states. He was Louisiana’s first black lieutenant governor, and its 24th State governor.[American History in Black & White, by David Barton]
- Hirman Rhodes Revels, along with 6 other blacks, was the first black to be elected U.S Senator, a Republican, from Mississippi, in 1870. [American History in Black & White, by David Barton]
- Fredrick Douglas, abolitionists and first black to be appointed to office by 4 presidents following the war between the states.[American History in Black & White, by David Barton]
- Jan Ernst Matzeliger, perfected a shoe lasting machine that revolutionized the shoe-making industry, in 1882.
- Madame CJ Walker, was an American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the first female self-made millionaire in America, by selling hair care products door to door, in 1906. What today would be called “direct-sells marketing”.
- Garrett Morgan, invented the gas mask and the traffic signal.
- Mark Dean, Ph.D, currently holds 20 patents. 3 of which are of IBM’s first 9 patents for its personalcomputer.
- Charles Richard Drew M.D., created the idea of a blood bank and a system for the long-term preservation of blood plasma. And lets not forget who arguably is one of the greatest blacks,
- General Hannibal, he led Africans over the Alps to defeat the great Roman Army on the backs of elephants. His techniques are studies in military schools throughout the world today.
I could go on for pages and pages. It is not that the history of black accomplishments are unknown. They are just untold in most schools in America today, unless it’s surrounding the 1950 and 1960’s Civil Rights Era. The obvious question is WHY! Just imagine the positive results of what a portion of this information could do to the depressed psyche of the average black-American youth in this nation. Imagine how much more united we as a nation would be regarding so-called race if we just knew more of the true history of our races in America. Imagine Americans having an open discussion on race that is based on facts and truth, and not hyped emotions that are based on false narrations, or just a thumbtack definition of black-American History.
Maybe there are more informed people who have an invested interested, on both sides of the political and racial divide, to keep us ignorant of such history that could unite us, rather than espousing the contorted and deceptive history that only divides us.