Black History Month 

Know the Past, Shape the Future...

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.

Please take a moment and see a few of the many contributions that we have made to shape the world we live in today.  

Wendell Scott (1921 - 1990)

  • First Black full-time NASCAR driver.
  • Greased Lightening, a movie starring Richard Pryor was based loosely on his life. 
  • Was inducted into the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame and the NASCAR Hall of Fame. 

Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller (1872 - 1953)

  • Nation's first black psychiatrist.
  • Worked as a pathologist at Westborough State Hospital for the Insane.
  • Invited by German psychiatrist Dr. Alois Alzheimer to be his graduate research assistants at the Royal Psychiatric Hospital in Munich.
  • Made significant contributions to research on brain disorders.

Eunice Hunton Carter (1899 - 1970)

  • First black woman to earn a law degree from Fordham University Law School.
  • Appointed New York Assistant District Attorney.
  • Mob-buster who found evidence pointing to Charles "Lucky" Luciano as a "Mob-Boss". 

Claudette Colvin (1939 - Present)

  • 15-year old activist
  • Nine months before Rosa Park, she refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus.
  • Main witness in the lawsuit whch ended segregation on pubic transportation in Alabama.

Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (1908 - 1972)

  • Baptist Pastor, publisher, politician
  • Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church.
  • Represented Harlem in the US House of Representatives.
  • First African-American to be elected to Congress from New York. 
  • Founder/publisher of the People's Voice, a newspaper for "a progressive African american audience.

Charlie Sifford (1922 - 2015)

  • Golfer, pioneer
  • Helped open the game of golf to African American golfers.
  • Won several UGA (association of black golfers) and PGA tournaments.

James Armistead (1760 - 1830)

  • Patriot, spy, double agent.
  • Served both the Continental Army and the British Army, but fed false info to the British.
  • His intelligence reports were instrumental in help[ing defeat the British during the battle of Yorktown.

Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831 - 1895)

  • First African American Woman to become a physician in the US.
  • Worked wit the Freedmen's Bureau to provide medical care of freed slaves.
  • Published "A Book of Medical Discourses", which focused on medical care for women and children.

Madam C.J. Walker (1867 - 1919)

  • First self-made Female millionaire.
  • Born Sarah Breedlove, was both an orphan and widow by age 20.
  • Developed and sold hair-growing formula specifically for African American women.
  • Established beauty schools, salons and training facilities.

Mark Dean (1957 - Present)

  • Computer Programmer, Inventor.
  • Co-creator of the first IBM ISA BUS - the hardware interface that allows multiple devices, such as: printers, modems, keyboards, etc to be plugged into a computer.
  • Invented the first color PC monitor.
  • Professor at University of Tennessee.

John Mercer Langston (1829 - 1897)

  • Educator, activist and diplomat.
  • First African-American Lawyer.
  • First African-American to be elected to public office in the US.
  • First dean of Howard University Law School.
  • Great-Uncle of Poet Langston Hughes.

Ivan van Sertima (1935 - 2009)

  • Guyanese-born literary critic, linguist and anthropologist.
  • Associate processor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University.
  • Authored "The Lost Sciences of Africa: An Overview"  which discusses early African advances in metallurgy, astronomy, mathematics, architecture, engineering, agriculture, navigation, medicine and writing.

Carol Mosley-Braun (1947 - Present)

  • Attorney, activist, politician.
  • First African-American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992.
  • Served as U.S.ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa under Pres. Bill Clinton in 1999.

Nat  Turner (1800 - 1831)

  • Enslaved African-American who led a rebellion of slaves and free blacks.
  • Christian Preacher that traveled from plantation to plantation ministering to the slaves about the word of God.

Hattie McDaniel (1895 - 1952)

  • Professional singer, actress, songwriter and comedian.
  • First African-American to win an Oscar.
  • Appeared in over 300 films.
  • First African-American woman to sing on the radio in the US

Benjamin Banneker (1731 - 1806)

  • Invented the first clock in America.
  • Responsible for surveying of territory for construction of the nation's capital.
  • Authored commercially successful series of almanacs.
  • Corresponded with Thomas Jefferson on matters of slavery and racial equality.

Henrietta Lacks 1(920 - 1951)

  • Cancer cell culture was used to create one of the most important cell lines 
  • The cells were used  to develop polio vaccine, research cancer, AIDS, etc.
  • Given a posthumous doctorate in Public Service.

Garrett Morgan (1877 - 1963)

  • publisher, inventor
  • Invented hair-straightening products, breathing device, sewing machine and an improved traffic signal.

Patricia Bath (1942 - Present)

  • Inventor, Doctor, Educator
  • First African Americal to become an Opthamologist.
  • Co-founded Americal Institute for the Preention of Blindness.
  • Invented Laserphaco Probe for the treatment of cataracts

Lonnie G Johnson (1949 - Present)

  • Inventor, Engineer
  • Former Air Force and NASA engineer
  • Invented Super Soaker water gun
  • Developed Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Converter which converts heat into electricity.

George Carruthers (1939 - Present)

  • Scientist, Physicist
  • Invented spectrograph used by NASA in the Apollo 16 flight
  • Built his first telescope at age 10
  • Professor at Howard University


Sarah E Goode (1855 - 1905)

  • Entrepreneur, Inventor
  • First African American woman to receive a US Patent.
  • Designed the folding cabinet bed.
  • Owned furniture store along with her carpenter husband.
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