The Love Central - The Hidden Gems of Black History The Unsung Heroes and Heroines You Need to Know
The Hidden Gems of Black History The Unsung Heroes and Heroines You Need to Know

The Hidden Gems of Black History: The Unsung Heroes and Heroines You Need to Know

As we honor the legacy of giants like King, Parks, and Tubman, let us also remember the countless others
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Many stories of Black history are often overlooked or forgotten by mainstream media and education. In this article, we will highlight some of the hidden gems of black history

Black history is a tapestry of many threads, woven with stories and struggles that often go unnoticed by the spotlight of fame and glory. 

As we honor the legacy of giants like King, Parks, and Tubman, let us also remember the countless others who made their mark on history, but whose names and deeds are seldom praised or acknowledged. Here are some of those names: 

Katherine Johnson

The Love Central - The Hidden Gems of Black History
Katherine Johnson Image source Biography

Katherine Johnson was a mathematician and NASA employee who played a vital role in the early days of the US space program. 

She calculated the trajectories, launch windows, and emergency return paths for many historic missions, including the first human spaceflight by Alan Shepard, the first orbit of Earth by John Glenn, and the Apollo 11 moon landing. 

She was also one of the first black women to work as a NASA scientist, breaking barriers of race and gender in a predominantly white and male field. Her work was largely unrecognized until the 2016 film Hidden Figures, which was based on her life and the lives of her colleagues Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.

Paul Robeson

The Love Central - The Hidden Gems of Black History
Paul Robeson Image source Biography

Paul Robeson was a multi-talented artist and activist who excelled in various domains. He was a scholar, athlete, singer, actor, lawyer, and civil rights leader. He graduated from Rutgers University as valedictorian and earned a law degree from Columbia University. 

He became a star of stage and screen, performing in plays such as Othello and films such as The Emperor Jones. He also used his powerful voice to sing folk songs, spirituals, and anthems from different cultures and languages. 

He was an outspoken advocate for social justice, supporting the labor movement, the anti-colonial struggle, and the fight against fascism and racism. He faced persecution and blacklisting for his political views, but he never gave up his principles or his passion.

Bessie Coleman

The Love Central - The Hidden Gems of Black History
Bessie Coleman Image source Biography

Bessie Coleman was the first black woman to earn a pilot’s license and the first black person to earn an international pilot’s license. She was born in Texas to a family of sharecroppers and faced discrimination and poverty throughout her life. 

She moved to Chicago and worked as a manicurist and a waitress, saving money to pursue her dream of flying. She traveled to France to enroll in a flight school, as no American school would accept her because of her race and gender. 

She learned to fly in a Nieuport 82 biplane and became a skilled stunt pilot. She returned to the US and performed in air shows, earning the nickname “Queen Bess”. She also used her fame to inspire other black people to pursue aviation and to challenge racial segregation and discrimination.

Bayard Rustin

The Love Central - The Hidden Gems of Black History
Bayard Rustin Image source Biography

Bayard Rustin was a civil rights activist and organizer who played a key role in the movement for racial equality and social justice. 

He was a pacifist, a Quaker, and a gay man, who faced oppression and prejudice on multiple fronts. He was a mentor and adviser to Martin Luther King Jr., teaching him the principles and tactics of nonviolent resistance. 

He was also the main architect of the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He advocated for human rights, labor rights, and gay rights, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 2013.

Wangari Maathai

The Love Central - The Hidden Gems of Black History

Wangari Maathai was an environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who founded the Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization that empowers women to plant trees and protect the environment. 

She was born in Kenya and became the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate. She taught at the University of Nairobi and became involved in environmental and social activism. She launched the Green Belt Movement in 1977, which has since planted over 50 million trees and improved the lives of millions of people. 

She also campaigned for democracy, human rights, and women’s rights in Kenya and beyond. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, peace, and democracy.

Conclusion: The Hidden Gems of Black History

These are just some of the hidden gems of black history that deserve more recognition and appreciation. They are examples of courage, excellence, and innovation that have shaped the world we live in today. 

They are also sources of inspiration and empowerment for the present and future generations of black people and people of color. By learning about their stories, we can honor their legacy and celebrate their diversity.

How to Celebrate International Mother Language Day as an African in the US

As an African living in the US, this day presents an opportunity to celebrate your linguistic heritage and cultural identity within a multicultural context. It is a strong reminder to celebrate your roots, reconnect with your roots, educate others, and advocate for a more inclusive future.

To ensure you have a memorable celebration, we’ve curated insightful ideas for you to explore.

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