Black History Little Known Literary Facts*
- Black History Month originated in 1926. The month of February was chosen in honor of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln whose birthdays are this month.
- Martin Luther King Jr. was stabbed by an African-American woman in 1958 while attending his book signing in Harlem.
- Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on Maya Angelou's birthday (April 4, 1968). Angelou stopped celebrating her birthday for many years after.
- Chaka Khan is the singer behind the theme song to educational program Reading Rainbow.
- Langston Hughes's father discouraged him from writing, agreeing to pay for his college education if he studied engineering.
- Ben Carson's mother required him to read two library books per week and give her written reports.
- Kanye West's mother (Dr. Donda West) was an English Professor at Clark Atlanta University and Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University. Kanye West's father (Ray West) was a former Black Panther and one of the first photojournalists at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is now a Christian counselor.
- Billie Holiday's song "Strange Fruit" was originally a poem by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish schoolteacher.
- Science fiction author Octavia Butler was dyslexic.
- Phyllis Wheatley had to defend her literary ability in court before becoming the first black published poet.
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