Black History Fun Fact Friday Returns


As long as you’re trying to change a system within that system it will never work. If you were never designed to be part of the system, you cannot expect that system to treat you with fairness. If you never intended for a people to be free within your gates there will always be laws in place to ensure that they are never freed. Chattel Slavery, Black Codes, Jim Crow, Convict Leasing, Police Brutality and the like are all examples of America ensuring that a people remain as they were intended to be, slaves.

I am just a week in my new place and still without internet and have been blogging from my phone, but Black History Fun Fact Friday is returning soon.

We’ll be starting a series (because it’ll take multiple posts) on:

The History of Oppression in America

We’ll touch on the hidden message behind the #TakeAKnee protests, The relocation of Japanese-Americans into internment camps during World War II, the stealing of Native American land, the stigmatizing of Mexicans in the 30s (the origin of the name Marijuana for cannabis to make it seem like a “Mexican Drug”) the Drug Enforcement Act of 1914, the War on Drugs that promoted crack as the Black man’s drug and the association of Heroin with Chinese American Immigrants in the late 1800s, early 1900s.

Meanwhile, you can catch up on previous Black History Fun Facts by visiting the page HERE.

Stay tuned and enjoy the weekend.



Unfamiliar Faces – Lost to History: Before Parks

Last year, I started a series I didn’t get to finish. Unfamiliar Faces: Lost to History was something I thought of doing because I realized how much black history is repetition and how much is rarely mentioned. CLICK HERE to view the first post.

I said I wanted to post every Thursday on this topic. Somehow I got side tracked. But I’m back on it.

Every year in February we are certain to hear one name: Rosa Parks. But, was she the first? Below are women who were lost to history, though they were before Parks:


Claudette Colvin

Born on September 5, 1939, in Montgomery, Alabama, Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white passenger months before Rosa Parks on March 2, 1955. Colvin was only 15years old but she was poor. She didnt have the NAACP or the connections Parks had. As a result, little is know of her. In fact, the NAACP considered using Claudette but they said she was too young. They also looked away because she was pregnant and they did not want to represent a young, unwed mother and bring about negative attention. In short, they looked down on Colvin. Still, Colvin went on to serve as a plaintiff in the landmark legal case Browder v. Gayle, which helped end the practice of segregation on Montgomery public buses. Today, Claudette Colvin is still not a name you hear very often in relation to bus desegregation, even though she was there before Parks.


Aurelia Browder

After Colvin Aurelia Browder followed suit and was arrested on April 19, 1955 for refusing to give up her seat. Born on January 29, 1919, in Montgomery, Alabama, we can rest assured Aurelia knew well the likes ofJim Crow. We can imagine this is why she joined the NAACP, SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference), the Women’s Political Council (WPC), and the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). However, Aurelia could join all the organizations she wanted but with six children and no husband her refusal to give up her seat did not stick, even though she was before Parks.

Aurelia was followed by Mary Louise Smith, Susie McDonald, and Jeanatta Reese, all who were arrested for refusing to give their seats up on a bus in 1955.


Irene Morgan

I mentioned her in my first post but I’m doing it again for emphasis since she came eleven years before the women above. Many are just now starting to hear more and more about Morgan. Eleven years before both Parks and Colvin was Irene Morgan, later known as Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, another black woman arrested in Middlesex County, Virginia, in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat on an interstate. The Irene Morgan Decision inspired the men and women of CORE to create a nationwide protest movement called The Journey of Reconciliation which later inspired The Freedom Rides.

Black Slaves, Native Masters

“I got Indian in my family.”

Is something I hear often among the black community. Even in my own family, my mom talks of how her dad was 100% Cherokee Indian and how our family were cow slaughters which explains my maiden last name which is Hereford, a kind of cow.

Black Slaves, Native Masters

However, while many black families are proud to proclaim their Native Heritage, what is rarely passed around our dinner tables is an important fact in American History. This fact being that even the 5 Civilized Indian Tribes held slaves. A lot of black people jump at the chance to proclaim the above statement because oppressed people typically wants to identify with other oppressed people but the truth is stranger than fiction. Native Americans were oppressed by Europeans but they both had black slaves. In fact, Native Americans knew the layout of the land better than anyone else and it was they who taught the Europeans how to track and to capture slaves. (This is why in last weeks Underground Episode the little boy asked the black slave, “You used to live with the Indians didn’t you? And you taught my daddy how to track.” He used to live with the Indians because he was their slave same as he is the slave to the little boys father. Underground is a very well written TV show).

“Though the harsh treatment of enslaved Africans largely paled in comparison to that of white slaveholders, Blacks still were treated as an underclass among Native Americas. The Five Civilized Tribes even established slave codes that protected owners’ property rights and restricted the rights of Blacks.”

(Barbara-Shae Jackson, The Atlanta Black Star)

What’s deep about my family history is this:

Cherokee is one of the tribes who took part in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade (along with Chickasaw and others). In addition, the term “Cow-Boy” is also derivative of slavery. The slave boys who handled the cows were called cow boys. So when you watch Quentin Tarantino’s Django the content is actually not out of context far as the cow boy theme is concerned and my maiden name is potentially much more deep than we know.