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Fascinating Black History You Should Know About

As people of color, it is significant to learn about and discover more black history facts and fascinating events surrounding the achievements of the African diaspora.

Karen Cruz
Karen Cruz

Black history is American history, but it is saddening that the rich history of blacks in America is minimized to the Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, and slavery in textbooks. Of course, those things are very important, but they are not the complete story. There are things that were not taught in school. And as people of color, it is significant to learn about and discover more black history facts and fascinating events surrounding the achievements of the African diaspora. Don't worry, the brilliant and indisputable contributions black people have made to the world won't be forgotten. Here are some fascinating black events that you should probably know about.

Henrietta Lacks's cancer cells led to important discoveries in medical research in 1951.


Recently, a woman named Henrietta Lacks went viral on social media as a movie starring Oprah Winfrey as Henrietta's daughter, explained how Henrietta's HeLa cells have contributed to medical research. What is shocking is her family did not know about any of this until 1975. It is saddening that scientists were making a profit and discoveries from Henrietta's cells while her children were living in poverty.

The Great Migration in 1916-1970

Did you know that more than six million blacks migrated from the south to the north, midwest, and west from 1916 to 1970? Southern blacks were plagued with segregationist laws and unsatisfactory economic opportunities. Those who left the south traveled by boat, bus, or train. Even though segregation was not legal, people of color still experienced racism and discrimination.

John Rock was the first African American Supreme Court lawyer.

John Rick was a doctor but he was so ill that he had to give up his profession. He became a lawyer instead on February 1, 1865. It is saddening that black people were not considered American citizens, however, practicing law in the Supreme Court did not require being an American citizen.

Shirley Chisholm

Born on November 30, 1924, to Caribbean parents in Brooklyn, New York, Chisholm earned her Bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and her MA from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She was an educator and she launched her political career through volunteering for white political clubs in Brooklyn. Chisholm was a director of Hamilton-Madison Child Care Center in lower Manhattan from 1953 to 1959. She then served as an educational consultant from 1959 to 1964 for New York City's Division of Day Care. In 1968, Chisholm ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from New York State's 12th congressional district. She won in the election and she was the first black woman elected to the U.S Congress. Chisholm was also the first black woman to run for president on January 25, 1971.

The women behind the NASA space race: Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Katherine Johnson

Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Katherine Johnson and other women who worked as the "computers" served as the brains behind launching the first successful American astronaut to orbit Earth, John Glenn. It would have been better if they taught in school how these amazing women's intelligence helped in the NASA space race.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

Warning: This may sound very disturbing. Yup, black people being used as lab rats was a real thing that happened. How cruel, right? 600 black men enrolled in a study recording the natural history of syphilis in blacks in 1932. The research was done at Tuskegee Institute. 399 of the 600 men had syphilis and 201 were control subjects. These men were lured with free meals, rides to and from the clinic, medical exams, and they were guaranteed that in case of death, provisions would be made to their families. Penicillin became the treatment for syphilis in 1947, however, it was withheld from the men participating in the research. What is more saddening is a lot of men had died and had infected their families between the start of the study in 1932 and 1947 when penicillin was determined as the treatment.

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If you want to get more beauty advice, some hair care tips for dark-skinned women, travel inspirations, food tips, and literally anything that is helpful for people of color, be sure to check out Black Lifestyle.