Since 1976, February has been designated as Black History Month. It is a way to honor the many contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. Among the many standouts are figures like Madam C.J. Walker who was the first U.S. woman to be designated a “self-made millionaire,” George Washington Carvery who crafted over 300 products from the peanut and Rosa Parks who took a seat at the front of a bus and sparked the civil rights movement. Those are just the start.
Here are some more amazing facts about Black History that everyone needs to know:
Decades before Muhamad Ali took the sports world by storm, Jack Johnson became the first African American to hold the title of World Heavyweight Champion Boxer. He landed that title in 1908 and held onto it until 1915.
The First Lawyer
John Mercer Langston was the first Black man to become a lawyer. He passed the Ohio state bar in 1854. The following year, Langston was elected to the post of Town Clerk for Brownhelm, Ohio. That made him the first African American ever elected to public office. He was also the great-uncle to famed Harlem renaissance poet, Langston Hughes.
The First Justice
Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967. That made him the first African American appointed to the highest court in the land. He served until 1991.
The First Senator
The first African American to be elected to the U.S. Senate was Hiram Rhodes Revels. Believe it or not, he was elected from the state of Mississippi in 1870.
The First Oscar Winner
In 1940, Hattie McDaniel become the first African American performer to win the Academy Award. She won it in the Best Supporting Actress category for her work in “Gone With the Wind.”
The First Pilot
Bessie Coleman traveled to France in 1920. In June of 1921, she was awarded a pilot’s license by the French making her the first licensed female African American pilot.