Why I Decided To Write About These Interesting People In Particular
I had been meaning to do a post on the interesting people that I have learnt about in my classes so far for a while now. However, with everything going on right now I thought I would share some information about interesting African American people that I have learnt about. I admire the more famous figures that we hear about often but I thought I would also include some lesser known people because people who don’t study history may not have heard about them.
Phyllis Wheatley (c. 1753-1784)
I first heard/learnt about her in my American Enlightenment class. She was from West Africa and was sold to a Bostonian as a slave when she was a child. Her owner taught her how to read and write and she soon became really good at both. She soon began reading things that had Enlightenment and Revolution ideology and also began writing her own poetry. She became the first African American to author a poetry book. She also faced a lot of criticism for her writing as many refused to believe an African American could write so well and even had to defend her writing in court. For more on her click here.
Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806)
He had little formal education but was taught to read by his grandmother and as a child became an avid reader. He also became interested in Maths and engineering. As an adult he became interested in learning more about astronomy. He also caught the interest of many Americans at the time and eventually became a surveyor. He went on to author almanacs that were became quite famous at the time. For more on him click here.
O. B McClinton (1940-1987)
He was one of the few African American country musicians. The reason I added him to this list is because he was also the only African American country musician that actually addressed racism in the music industry and in the country music genre in particular. He put out multiple songs about the reaction he gets when listeners realise he’s black and the problems he faces as a African American in the music business/country music genre. He remains one of the few people that spoke out and did not shy away from the topic of race and racism. For more on him click here.
Melba Pattillo Beals (1941-present)
She is best know for being one of the Little Rock Nine. These were the first African American students who attended Little Rock Central High School when it was integrated. I picked her book Warriors Don’t Cry to review for one of my American History classes and reading it really brought tears to my eyes. The way these children were treated and everything they went through really opens your eyes to the injustices that black people face in America. I would highly recommend reading Warriors Don’t Cry along with her other writing. For more about her click here.
I also wanted to share these videos that I have come across in my classes that I thought were worth sharing at this time.
Let me know who your favourite African American historical figure is in the comments below.
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