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Did You Know? Black History Month Edition

In honor of Black History Month here are a few facts you may not have known…

1. Did you know that George Washington Carver helped Henry Ford and Gandhi? Carver helped Ford create alternative fuels for cars and also was funded by Ford for some of his experiments at the Tuskegee Institute. Gandhi’s supporters asked Carver how to build up their strength during hunger strikes, Gandhi later wrote him to thank him for his valuable advice.

2. Cathay Williams was the first known black woman to enlist in the army, she was also the only black woman in the 19th century who served in the army. She posed as a man and changed her name to William Cathay. She served the armed forces for two years before doctors discovered that she was not a man.

3. When they were just 15 years old Condoleezza Rice and Martin Luther King, Jr. started college. Her major was political science at the University of Denver and he majored in sociology at Morehouse College in Atlanta.

4. The Black Panthers were a political organization that advocated for equal rights for Black Americans. They were made to be viewed as terrorists by U.S. government and media during the civil rights movement, but their powerful movements launched programs such as free dental care and free lunch and breakfast programs for lower-income children, they founded the sickle cell anemia research foundation, people’s free medical research health clinics and much more. 

5. The original Betty Boop was inspired by a black woman named Esther Jones, whose stage name was Baby Esther.  Helen Kane a woman who is known as the inspiration of Betty Boop actually adopted Jones style after watching a show of hers. Jones took Kane to court and won $250,000 from her lawsuit.

6. Sarah Rector was once the richest black child in America after receiving land that was abundant with oil in the early 1900s. She received $300 a day which made her a millionaire. When her wealth became known she received many requests for loans, monetary gifts and marriage proposals from all around the world. People were so enraged that she was a millionaire and African-American that they tried to pass a law making her white… yes, you read that correctly. Despite the untrue statements the press released about her parents being “ignorant” and unable to manage money, as well as her being poor, wearing rags and living in an unsanitary shack, she graduated high school and went to the Tuskegee Institute.

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My name is Erica Huckaby, I am 21 years old and currently a senior at VCU majoring in Business and Mass Communications. I am an aspiring broadcast journalist with skills and experience in multimedia journalism and marketing. I currently work at NBC12 as a News Specialist. My passion and goal in life is to create, spread and share happiness. This past summer I worked for VCU as an International Business Consultant and really enjoyed being able to step outside my comfort zone. When I'm not busy with school or work I like to go to the beach, do yoga and shop til I drop! I am an elite bargain shopper if I do say so myself.
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