February is African-American (Black) History Month. It is a special month set aside to celebrate the history and achievements of African-Americans. Other months are celebrated by other groups also. For example, March is national Women’s History Month, April is National Arab-American Month, September is National Hispanic Heritage Month, October is LGBT Month, and the list goes on. As we celebrate Black History, I wanted to remind all of us that the United States is the greatest country in the world because of our diversity. People from all parts of the world have contributed to make this nation what it is today – that is cause for celebration. Having said that, I wanted to leave you with a few little known Black History facts:
- After the Transatlantic Slave Trade was banned, there were European nations that continued to enslave Africans on plantations in Africa. One such example is the village of Sesimei in the Ga District of Ghana, a place I recently visited.
- When the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was formed, there was only one black on the Board of Directors, W.E.B. DuBois.
- Most African Slaves who were brought to the New World were sent to Brazil, only a small fraction were brought to North America.
- The slaves who were sent to Brazil and the Caribbean were sent there primarily to work on sugar cane plantations; those who were brought to North America worked primarily on cotton plantations.
- It was not until two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation that slavery ended – on June 19, 1865 (now celebrated as Juneteenth). The last stronghold was Galveston, Texas.
- In the early 20th century, the debate between vocational and liberal arts education was a vitriolic one that pitted the two greatest black leaders of their time against each other (Booker T. Washington versus W.E.B. DuBois).
- The non-violent protesters during the Civils Rights Movement were all trained in the art of non-violence.
Just a few little-known facts for your edification, illumination, and education.