Wilson Community College is proud to celebrate Black History Month during the month of February.
Check back throughout the month for more facts and events.
- The celebration of Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. Learn more at http://asalh.org/about-us/origins-of-black-history-month/.
- Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives. She was elected in 1968 and represented the state of New York. She broke ground again four years later in 1972 when she was the first major party African American candidate and the first female candidate for president of the United States. Learn more at http://history.house.gov/People/Listing/C/CHISHOLM,-Shirley-Anita-(C000371)/.
- Madam C.J. Walker was born on a cotton plantation in Louisiana and became America’s first female African American self-made millionaire after inventing a line of African American hair care products. She established Madam C.J. Walker Laboratories and was also known for her philanthropy. Read more at http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/madame-c-j-walker.
- George Crum, a chef and restaurateur is said to have unintentionally created the potato chip during the summer of 1853. They were made in response to a customer who sent back their fried potatoes after complaining they were too thick. The crisps were an instant hit and are arguably one of the best snacks worldwide.
- Shirley Jackson, the first African American woman to earn a doctorate at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), is responsible for monumental telecommunications research that led to the invention of products such as the touch-tone phone, portable fax, fiber optic cables, and caller ID. Read more at http://www.black-inventor.com/dr-shirley-jackson.
- Garrett Morgan invented the 3-position traffic signal in 1922. Though Morgan’s was not the first traffic signal, it was an important innovation nonetheless: By having a third position besides just “Stop” and “Go,” it regulated crossing vehicles more safely than earlier signals had. Read more at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/garrett-morgan-patents-three-position-traffic-signal.
- Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to go to space, boarding the space shuttle Endeavour in 1992. Read more at http://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/biographies/mae-jemison.
- George Washington Carver developed 300 derivative products from peanuts among them cheese, milk, coffee, flour, ink, dyes, plastics, wood stains, soap, linoleum, medicinal oils and cosmetics. Read more at http://www.history.com/topics/black-history/george-washington-carver.
- In the late 19th century, the ironing board was improved upon by Sarah Boone, an African-American woman in 1892. With Boone’s 1892 additions, the board featured a narrower and curved design, making it easier to iron garments, particularly women’s clothing. Boone’s design would morph into the modern ironing board that we use today. Read more at http://www.biography.com/inventor/sarah-boone.
- Alexander Miles invented automatic elevator doors in 1887. In 1887 he took out a patent for a mechanism that automatically opens and closes elevator shaft doors and his designs are largely reflected in elevators used today. Read more at http://www.invent.org/inductees/alexander-miles.
- Marie Van Brittan Brown was the inventor of the first home security system. She is also credited with the invention of the first closed circuit television. The patent for the invention was filed in 1966, and it later influenced modern home security systems that are still used today. Read more at http://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/brown-marie-van-brittan-1922-1999/.
- Richard Bowie Spikes, the holder of a number of United States patents, his inventions (or mechanical improvements on existing inventions) include automobile directional signals, the automatic gear shift device based on automatic transmission for automobiles and other motor vehicles and a safety braking system for trucks and buses. Read more at http://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/spikes-richard-1878-1965/.
- Booker T. Washington was the first African American to appear on a US postal stamp on April 7, 1940. Also, he was the first African American to appear on a US coin. He was on the US half dollar from 1946-1951. Read more at http://www.britannica.com/biography/Booker-T-Washington.
- Lincoln University in Pennsylvania is the first institution of higher education founded for African-Americans in 1854. It paved the way for the 104 other historically Black colleges and universities including 12 in North Carolina. Read more at http://www.ourstate.com/the-state-of-north-carolinas-hbcus/.
- Hiram Rhodes Revels was the first African American ever elected to the U.S. Senate. He represented the state of Mississippi from February 1870 to March 1871. Read more at http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/senate-stories/First-African-American-Senator.htm.
- John Baxter Taylor Jr. was the first African American to win an Olympic gold medal. In 1908 of the 1600-meter medley relay, Taylor ran the third leg of the race for his team and went down in history when he brought home the gold in London for the United States. Read more at http://penntoday.upenn.edu/news/first-african-american-olympic-gold-medalist-was-penn-grad.
Events for Students
- SGA: Documentary Presentation – Feb 10 at noon
- TRiO: Black History Month Documentary – Moodle
The A. Dwight Johnson Learning Resource Center has a variety of print books showcasing Black History Month. Visit the Library today to check out one of our titles.