As I prepare to return my manuscript to my editor for a final comb-through, I am also ready to assemble a street team of beta readers and advanced reviewers.
Having not written a history book before (that’s not fiction), I had no idea it would be this much work. However, I am eager to share everything I have learned with you.
If you are familiar with the Black History Fun Fact Friday series, this book is that series in book form, only much more polished and with more information.
Beyond that series, what inspired the book?
We are particularly familiar with the names of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston. These outstanding leaders had a lasting impression on Black Americans’ history.
But two questions stick out:
How much do we really know about them?
Did you know MLK was born Michael, not Martin??
What are some names and histories of other leading Black people and events we are unfamiliar with?
Did you know a Black man, Lewis Howard Latimer helped Thomas Edison with the light bulb and Alexander Graham Bell with the telephone? These inventions could not exist in their present capacity without Lewis!
You can expect to read this kind of information in 200 pages of mind-blowing Black Historical Facts your history teacher left out.
I am looking for:
Black / African American readers passionate about Black history
Readers of any ethnicity who love Black history
History buffs in general
Readers willing to leave an Amazon review after reading the book
Readers willing to post about the book on the social media platform of their choice. (I do not dictate how you do this. You can publish it to your feed or story. I am grateful either way.)
Note: While I appreciate editorial feedback, you do not have to be an editor to beta read. Before publication, this book is receiving professional editing and proofreading.
You get a free ecopy of the book before it comes out.
You get free shipping on the paperback when it comes out. (You will get a private access code to input for your free shipping when the time comes.)
You get a special mention on my social media (@yecheilyah) in the form of a professional graphic I’ll use to promote early reviews.
What to Do Now
Copies will start to go out when the final version of the manuscript is ready. If you signed up, keep an eye on your email to stay posted.
You must inform me of your interest via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive further information on how to help, including the ARC terms and an advanced book copy.
This year, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month for the first time. With Black History Month around the corner for many (it’s always black history for me), I am pushing to finish the first draft by February. Because it requires a lot of research, this is one of those books with a source page that will probably be thick enough for its own mini book. The discipline required to get this done made #NaNoWriMo more attractive this year to hold myself accountable.
My goal was to write every day and have 50K words down by the end of the month. Let’s see how I did.
Word Count as of 11/30/2021: 30,168. Chapters: 23 Pages: 113 Sources Page: 3,747 words, 15 pages
While I did not cross the 50K threshold, I am proud of making it this far because I wanted to get 25K down if I could not do the fifty.
I did not write every day. I spent days traveling, and even on returning, I did not get right back to writing immediately. The interesting thing is that I rested a lot, which helped me do more when I was writing. Taking days off actually helped, not hinder me. To quote the Nap Ministry on Twitter: “This idea that you gotta grind yourself into exhaustion and make work the center of your entire existence is not liberating.”
I found the word count ticker and badges (I won 7) on the website motivating. I would look at it and compete to see if I could beat the previous day’s count.
The most significant thing, though, has been ghosting social media for much of November. I am not a good multitasker. If I am to focus on completing something, I have to give it my full attention, and right now, that’s this black history book. I was not posting as much or blogging. I will probably continue being missing in action, except the remaining book review posts and NWW, until the draft is complete.
I’m not gonna lie; I looked at National Novel Writing Month sideways a couple of times. I didn’t think it was for me. I am not for the whole “write a book in ten or thirty days” kind of thing. And while it’s not something I would do every year, having participated, I can say that I enjoyed the push it has given me.
If there is one thing I would do differently, it would be to set my own word count goal and try to stick to writing a little every day instead of sitting at the computer for hours. That ain’t healthy.
Who else participated in NaNoWriMo? How was your experience?
Black History Fun Fact Friday is not just a Black History Month segment anymore. It has carved out its own space on this blog. I want to get back to publishing Black History articles every Friday and would love to have some help.
I am reaching out for help from individuals who are interested in helping to contribute to this series.
Must be at least 18+ to write for The PBS Blog.
Must be original work. Do not copy and paste the article from other blogs unless that blog is your own. If you have a Black History article to share that you published to your site, I welcome you to submit it for Black History Fun Facts. I have no problem with that as long as it is your work. You can also link back to it so readers can follow your blog.
Because of the nature of this series, interested writers must be Black/African American.
Topics must be relatable to the history of Blacks/African Americans, African diaspora, e.g.
Articles must be emailed to me for approval at least one week before publishing. If you email your article on 4/28 for example, I will publish it on 5/1 if there are no needed changes.
Please send articles as an attachment in a Word Document, 12p Font, Times New Roman text.
Please do your best to self-edit your work for basic typos/spelling/grammatical errors before submission. Grammarly and ProWritingAid are good free self-edit software programs to use.
Please include at least one image with the post. Canva is a good program to use to make your own images.
This is Black History Fun Fact Friday not Black History Opinions so do your best to submit articles covering accurate historical information. I will vet the submissions to make sure they do. If you have links to sources, please include them. If you quote someone else, please cite your source. Articles that plagiarize will not be featured on this blog. (Note: Writers, as a heads up, if you are quoting people in your Social Media graphics without giving proper credit, this is plagiarism. Putting quotation marks around the quote does not make it yours. Don’t leave off the name of the person who said it first!)
Please include a photo of yourself, social media handles, website, or links to books you’ve written on the topic. This will be added to the end of the post.
Benefits of Guest Blogging:
Increase traffic to your own website/blog
Build Relationships/Online Influence
Build Domain and Search Engine Authority
Capture Wider Audience (go hand-in-hand with the 1st point)
Develop Your Authority on a topic
Improve Your Writing
Opens the doors for paid business opportunities
Email articles to email@example.com.
Today’s Black History Fun Fact Friday is from our special guest writer, Keyshawn McMiller. McMiller is a Senior Social Work major at Florida A&M University, and a current two-time published author (Ideals From A Young Black Introvert). Keyshawn aspires to one day, become a licensed counselor and ultimately, open the minds of traditional minority communities to the advantages of professional self-help.
The next time you ponder the great polymaths of the world such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, be sure to include another prominent Renaissance Man in Benjamin Banneker. A free-status African American raised on a Maryland farm that would eventually be bequeathed to him, Banneker was fortunate enough to attend a Quaker school. Though, he was primarily self-educated, relying on loaned books to learn the bulk of his skills. While in his 20’s, his knack for mathematics was demonstrated as he constructed a working wooden clock based on studying pocket watches. This accomplishment would only be the beginning of Banneker’s successes, as an interest in astronomy brought on by Quaker Astronomer, George Elliott, led him to predict a 1789 solar eclipse accurately.
As he matured, the Black Excellence of Benjamin Banneker was only magnified as he eventually became a prominent abolitionist and land surveyor near the end of his life. During this period, Banneker wrote future U.S. President, Thomas Jefferson, a letter in 1791 asking for improved living conditions for his people. In this same letter, he also sent drafts of various almanacs for the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Amazingly, this draft would eventually be published thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson’s approval. Perhaps Banneker’s most significant achievement came about as he surveyed the land that would eventually become the current domain for the United States’ capital in Washington, D.C.
Despite Benjamin Banneker passing on in 1806, approximately 57 years before Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, his legacy lives on. His name is included in several institutions, including The Benjamin Banneker buildings housed at Florida A&M University. At the notice of his passing, an obituary was published in the Federal Gazette with the quote, “Mr. Banneker is a prominent instance to prove that a descendant of Africa is susceptible of as great mental improvement and deep knowledge into the mysteries of nature as that of any other nation.”
Keyshawn McMiller is a Senior Social Work major at Florida A&M University. A current two-time published author with “Ideals From A Young Black Introvert” and “Winnas, Not N*ggas,” Keyshawn is on a mission to use his gifts of writing to inspire the next generation to trade who they are for what they can become.
Black History Fun Fact Friday returns next week with a brand new fun fact and our first special guest! Until then, I hope you enjoy this repost of how Black History Month got started.
Black History Month is around the corner. You know, the one time of the year that people are genuinely interested in Black History. Good thing you’ve got The PBS Blog, where we hit you up every week and all year round! Today, let us explore how Black History Month came to be.
Have you ever wondered why Black History Month is in February? You’ve heard it (or maybe even said it) “Why its gotta be the shortest month of the year tho?” Yea, that was you. It was me too. Before we get into that, let’s start from the beginning.
It starts with Dr. Carter G. Woodson, famous for his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, a book I highly recommend that you read (if you haven’t already).
Known as “The Father of Black History Month,” Carter was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate from Harvard and dedicated his career to the field of black history.
In 1915, Carter G. Woodson helped found the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (which later became the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History). The next year he established the Journal of Negro History and in 1921 formed the African-American-owned Associated Publishers Press. His goal was to center the contributions of African Americans. He wrote a dozen books, including but not limited to: A Century of Negro Migration (1918), The History of the Negro Church (1921), The Negro in Our History (1922) and The Mis-Education of the Negro (1933). The Mis-Education of the Negro is the most famous of these and is an often-recommended book by Historians and is also a book of study at Colleges. It centers on Black’s indoctrination into the American education system and touches on self-empowerment.
In 1926, Carter founded Black History Week. Black History Week eventually became Black History Month. It started as a program to encourage the study of Black History and was a week-long celebration in honor of Frederick Douglass (Born Feb. 14th) and Abraham Lincoln (Born Feb. 12th) and therefore Black History Month is in February.
Using Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is odd to me since Lincoln said that if he could have saved the Union without freeing any slaves he would have done it. Written during the Civil War, in one of Abraham Lincoln’s most famous letters to Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, Lincoln wrote about his focus to save the union, not to free the enslaved. Written while the Emancipation lay in his desk, not yet proclaimed, this letter is where the infamous quote comes from:
“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union.” – Abraham Lincoln, excerpt from
Letter addressed to Horace Greeley, Washington, August 22, 1862.
Source: The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, edited by Roy P. Basler
Learn more about Lincoln and the truth on his motifs concerning the freeing of the enslaved here.
In any event, in honor of these men, the program was held February of 1926 and was later expanded to an entire month as late as 1976.
And that, my people, is how Black History Month (the brief version) came to be.
Don’t Complain. Use What You Have.
I do not believe in colors. I believe in nations of people. I do not consider black and white to be nationalities set in motion by the creator but colors created by men. I believe that each human person belongs to a nation with land, laws, customs, and traditions to govern them. No one is black, white, or red. This doesn’t even make sense. Race was a concept developed by man to keep certain truths hidden and to promote racial superiority. Like you, I do not believe that Black History is something that should be assigned to one month, (for me it’s a way of life) let alone the shortest month, but I won’t complain about it. Instead, I’ll use it to further educate those whose eyes and ears are more open to hearing the truth. Every day is a chance to share Black history but instead of complaining about it is “the shortest month,” let us use February as an opportunity to awaken those who don’t know to the wide range of historical information that exists (but is largely left out of the textbooks) at a time where people are most interested to learn.
In the age of information where it is “cool to be conscious,” people aren’t as “woke” as they think they are. That said, if Black History Month is an opportunity for us to share knowledge and to introduce something to people at a time where they would pay attention, then we should do it. It has nothing to do with “celebrating black history month” but spreading the truth. If Black History Month helps people to understand who they are because their minds are open now, by all means, let us take advantage of it and stop complaining. Okay, so the month is short. That just means we better pack as much information into these 28 days as we can.
*Steps off soapbox*
And now, for my favorite Carter G. Woodson Quote:
“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his “proper place” and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”
– Dr. Carter G. Woodson, “The Miseducation of the Negro”
I am reposting this because February is approaching and we will see a lot of false information attached to Black History memes, same as always.
According to a famous Facebook post, King was not killed during an April 4, 1968, assassination attempt, but survived that shooting and was later “smothered by someone in the hospital.”
Is this true?
It’s Throwback Thursday so let’s go back in time a lil bit.
September 20, 1958
The year is 1958 and we are in Harlem, baby. Dr. King is signing copies of his first book “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story,” at the Blumstein’s Department Store, on 230 West 125th Street.
It’s a nice afternoon and young King is just twenty-nine years old, releasing his first book and feeling good. And we are feeling good too because we are ready to get our copy. The line is long but before we get bored a voice makes us all stop and look in their direction.
“Is this Martin Luther King?” shouts a well-dressed black woman wearing rhinestone glasses and a matching necklace and earrings but carried an ugly brown bag and an even uglier scowl. The woman stepped out of line, causing groans from the people in front of her.
We don’t know this yet, but she is forty-two-year-old Izola Ware Curry, the black daughter of sharecroppers.
King nodded, “Yes, it is.”
“I’ve been looking for you for five years,” says Curry while pulling a letter opener with an ivory handle from her purse, which we don’t really know is a letter opener because we don’t use those anymore.
“Ooh, snap!” We gasp, placing our hands over our mouths. “Why she come so dressed up for if she was trying to kill somebody?”
“What is she doing?” says another one of us.
“Yea, man. Doesn’t she know this is Martin Luther King?”
“He not all that popular yet,” says a young black boy wearing chino pants and a white polo shirt. He put his hand in his pocket when he said it, smiled and then tilted his head like he was better than us. “Ya’ll not from here, are ya?”
Before we could answer, the sound of screams forces our attention back to the direction of the strange woman. She swings the letter opener at King, and sliced his finger then plunges the seven-inch blade into the left side of his chest.
“Oh, my God!” someone screams and just like that, the store is in an uproar. We are all screaming and running as someone apprehends the woman.
We look at King secretly hoping she didn’t get him because we still kinda want our book.
But when we see somebody who looks like our Grandma rush to his side, we know that’s not going to happen.
Dr. King is sitting in this chair all calm and cool like he ain’t just been stabbed. Meanwhile the letter opener’s ivory handle is still protruding just below his collar.
The police arrive. “Don’t sneeze, don’t even speak,” says Officer Al Howard, fearful of the blade’s proximity to King’s heart. Because of how the letter opener hit him, if King had sneezed, he would have died.
So, they move King slowly and carefully and take him to Harlem Hospital, and he undergoes emergency surgery.
Then, we jump in our time machine and head back to 2021 because it’s wild out here in the 50s.
The photo at the start of this post is not of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. after being shot in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.
That is a picture of Dr. King ten whole years earlier in 1958 at a New York Hospital after being stabbed at his book signing. He spent almost two weeks in the hospital recovering.
“If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent.” – Martin Luther King Jr., “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” April 3, 1968
I hope this creative backdrop added some perspective. Although I wrote it like a short story, everything I said here is the truth. Izola Curry, really did attack Dr. King at his book signing in Harlem.
Now to the original post…
There are tons of Black History memes circulating on the internet and this number has increased even more due to it being Black History Month. However, many of these memes are not historically accurate. Please be sure to double check your facts before sharing. Otherwise, you are guilty of spreading disinformation.
Black people have contributed to the world so that we don’t have to make stuff up. If you see a meme with a fun fact on it, just open the internet on your phone and type the name or fact into the search bar. You can tell from there if the material is accurate or not. Sometimes it will even come up that the information is an opinion or cannot be verified by any trusted source.
Use not only your phone to log into Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use it to research these things and educate the people right.
Look for scholarly, peer-reviewed articles on .gov, .edu, or .org sites and trustworthy blogs. Peer-reviewed means information from a reputable source, information that shows that other professionals have reviewed and deemed it worthy of publication.
Wikipedia is not a credible source alone. Other trusted sources should support anything gained from Wiki.
And on the Monday of MLK day when everyone takes off and celebrates his legacy, remember that he was born on January 15, 1929, not whatever Monday you take off.
The question is deceptively simple. While it may seem like the history of “black people,” or a month worth of 28 days of “Black Pride,” or a horrific recap of slavery, Black History is deeper and richer than this. The African diaspora consists of a worldwide collection of communities and not all black-skinned people are part of the same nationality of people.
Are we going to talk about Black Biblical History and refer to ancestral names? The bible does not support the concept of race which means that we are then dealing with another aspect of black history. What is the nationality of the so-called “black people” of the western hemisphere and abroad? Are we talking about the Israelites (who are black) the Egyptians (black…Israel and Egypt is in Northeast Africa by the way), the Ethiopians, Nubians, Somalians, the Philistines, the Canaanites, Assyrians (who were Black Hamites), or the Elamites (descendants of Shem with Afros and full beards)?
“King Solomon said, ‘I’m Black but I’m comely,’ so what color would all of Solomon’s sons be? The Messiah went into Egypt to hide, how could that be done with blonde hair and blue eyes? It’s not about skin complexion, it’s just a fact, the people of the bible were black.”
Are we talking about the Ghanaian? Nigerian? Kenyan? Ashanti? Are we talking about the Jamaican, Haitian, Dominican, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Puerto Rican, Afro-Brazilian?
Do we discuss Kings and Queens? Who was King Solomon and King David? Did you know they were black Israelite Kings? Or, who was Mansa Mussa, Samore Toure, King of Sudan, or King Tenkamenin of Ghana? Who was Amina, Queen of Zaria, Candace, the empress of Ethiopia, Makeda, Queen of Sheba, Nefertiti, Queen of Ancient Kemet or Yaa Asantewa, Ashanti kingdom, Ghana?
Black people are worldwide so when we say “Black History,” we have a lot to talk about and fortunately for you, this blog is all about that not just in February but every Friday (or every other Friday) of the week. If you’re one of those people who live for the deep and rich experiences of Blacks not just in America but worldwide, if you live for this on an everyday basis, then you’ve come to the right place!
Next week, we have a new episode coming up. For now, this is a great time for you to review some of the articles we already have available on this site. Below are some of the more popular ones and I’ll see you next week!
Learn more by visiting the Black History Fun Fact Friday Page HERE.
ATTN: A quick word. I have selected four of my books that will be on a 99cent digital sale for the ENTIRE month of February! In honor of Black History Month, The Road to Freedom, Renaissance, Revolution and I am Soul will be 99cents in ebook. If you’ve never read any of my books this is an EXCELLENT opportunity to see what the hype is all about.