URGENT REMINDER: The fundraiser for reopening the National Black Doll Museum ends February 28. If you are able to donate a few dollars please do, and please share the fundraiser link as widely as you can. Many thanks! ☮️ -Iris.
Every once in a while, mainstream media gets something (sort of) right. For instance, at Today.com I found the inaccurately titled Nine inspiring Black American heroes you might not know about, but should. The phenomenon of erasure is a subject near and dear to my heart, and I’ve given my take on erasure in at least one post in this Black History Month series. Here is another, from the Today article:
Black history lessons in the month of February likely include the teachings of famous Black Americans like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Park [sic], and Jesse Owens. These pioneers have earned their pages in history textbooks, but why is so much Black history missing?
“The reason is simple,” Gerald Horne, Moores Professor of History and African American Studies at University of Houston told TODAY Parents. “Just look at the legislative backlash to Critical Race Theory or the Virginia gubernatorial race. Black history well taught leaves discomfort, which many would prefer to avoid.”
Personally, I prefer uncomfortable truths to comfortable fictions. Embracing the latter is not only foolish, but demonstrably dangerous.
But this post falls in neither camp; it celebrates historic accomplishments by Black people that we whites really should know about. (And if you’re into historic photos, its a little treasure trove.) As the good people at Color of Change helped to remind us yesterday, Black history IS American history.
Below are photos of Black historical figures I had never heard of until now, and short quotes from the Today article where you can go to learn more about them.
1. Harlem Hellfighters
The arrival of the famed 369th Black infantry regiment in New York after World War I. Celebrated in Europe, they faced discrimination at home.
(image: Bettmann Arc via Today)