26 Black Americans You Don’t Know But Should

Michelle Darrisaw in The Oprah Magazine:

When it comes to pioneers in African American history, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya AngelouJames Baldwin, and Muhammad Ali are often mentioned—and rightfully so. But what do you know about other Black history heroes like Claudette Colvin, Alice Coachman, or Shirley Chisholm? If their names don’t immediately ring a bell, you’re not alone. Educators, activists, and historians have long been attempting to shine a light and pinpoint why so much African American history is missing from our nation’s curriculum.

“Those that populated the colonies were free people from communities in Africa with large scale civilizations that had tax systems, that had irrigation systems, that had universities—they came from civilized nations that were advanced,” University of Texas at Austin history professor, Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, told NBC. “That’s where the curriculum should begin, that’s the biggest omission from my perspective. It’s an erasure of culture and heritage so that identities of African Americans for some are that of slaves and those fighting for their freedom.”

We’re shining a long-overdue spotlight on the hidden figures of untaught history who deserve to be celebrated for their contributions to civil rights, politics, the arts, and beyond. And remember to acknowledge their impact outside of Black History Month, as they’ve made way for many of the 21st century’s most famous faces to shine today.

More here. (Throughout February, at least one post will be dedicated to honoring Black History Month. The theme this year is: The Family)