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Black History Month: Did You Know? Edition

Black History Month is always a fun, educational, and refreshing experience. As the years go on and I become more familiar with black history, I realize that there is more to black history than what is taught in school. We are aware of well-known figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, or Marcus Garvey. Let’s take the time to acknowledge a few individuals who may not be as well known but have definitely made an impact on society! 

Albert Murray is not a common name amongst many but he was a social critic that challenged various topics such as black separatism and wanted to make clear that black history is indeed a part of American culture. He was known for being a novelist but through his essays, he gained the attention of many! One of his most famous works is The Omni-Americans. The book challenged black separatism.

Ella Baker was an active participant in the civil rights movement! She became involved in the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) as well as the SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee). She is known for being, “The Mother” of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Gil Scott Heron was known for being a poet, activist, critic, and musician. A lot of popular artists today, sample a lot of his work for their musical projects. He is best known for his poem, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. This is a popular saying that a lot of people associate with civil rights activists. He has also been known as the godfather of rap. His work continues to influence several people today. 


These are just a few individuals that have influenced our culture socially and politically. There are a lot more who have made a huge impact. It is up to us to educate ourselves and learn about African American History so that we can accurately carry on the legacy that was left behind for many generations to come. 


Have you ever used something and wondered, “What were they thinking when they made this? Who came across this idea?” 


There are a lot of things that the United States would not have if it were not for the African American people. Therefore, let’s explore some of the things that I became aware of during Black History Month! 


  1. The Automatic Gear Shift

A lot of you do not know how to drive a stick shift right? You thank God for the ability to switch gears without worrying if your car is going to cut off. The gear shift was invented by Richard Spikes in 1932! 


  1.  Home Security System

We all love to feel safe and secure in our homes. We love the feeling of being able to go to sleep at night without being paranoid about the fact that someone could potentially break into our homes. You can thank Marie Van Brittan Brown for this! 


  1.  Modern Day Toilet

Prior to the toilet being invented, human beings would have to do their “business” in unusual places. Now you can find a working toilet in any and every building. Thomas Elkins was known for many of his inventions but we can thank him for inventing the toilet! 


Next time you’re at a stoplight, think about who may have invented it! African American contributions have helped to develop and progress our country in a positive direction. 






Written by: Amari Morrison   



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