February 1, 2012

Black History Month & Little Known Literary Facts

Join me as I celebrate Black History Month by primarily reading and reviewing books by us about us.

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.
*Facts from Biography Classroom

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