7 Famous Heroes to Learn About During Black History Month - Geneva College
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7 Famous Heroes to Learn About During Black History Month

Picture of 7 Famous Heroes to Learn About During Black History Month

Each February, the U.S. recognizes the importance of African Americans throughout our country’s history with Black History Month. This month provides us with a time to celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of African American heroes and learn more about their impact on our nation. As part of this month-long celebration, find out more about some of the most important historical figures who have played an important role in U.S. history. 

  1. Barack Obama

Barack Obama, born in 1961, made history as the first African American president of the U.S. Obama was elected the 44th president in 2008 and served a second term after being re-elected in 2012. Before becoming president, Obama earned a law degree from Harvard Law School and Columbia University, then worked as a civil rights lawyer and taught constitutional law. He also gained experience in politics as an Illinois senator before running for president. In addition to being the first African American president, Obama has other notable achievements. He was a Harvard Law Review president and is a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Obama also signed the Affordable Care Act into law and negotiated the Iran Nuclear Deal.

  1. Granville T. Woods

Granville T. Woods, who lived from 1856 to 1910, earned the nickname “Black Edison” for his contributions to important industrial and technological developments. Woods gained experience and developed his skills while working at different industrial and engineering jobs. He eventually started his own company, which focused on developing various electrical devices and other items. During his life, Woods ended up registering close to 60 patents, including the multiplex telegraph. He is known for inventing improved versions of the steam boiler furnace and telephone transmitter. Woods also made significant contributions to the development of electrical devices that are still used today. One of his most important achievements was the power pick-up device invention, which served as the basis of third rail technology that subways and other electricity-based transit systems use today. 

  1. John Lewis

John Lewis is known for being among the “Big Six” civil right movement leaders during the 1960s. After this movement, he began serving in Congress in 1987 with a focus on supporting and promoting civil rights. Lewis, who was born in 1940 and died in July 2020, was the leader of the “Bloody Sunday” demonstration and a speaker at the March on Washington during the civil rights movement. After being elected to the House of Representatives, Lewis pushed for healthcare reform, the renewal of the Voting Rights Act, educational improvements, and other measures that would help improve the lives of struggling populations, including African Americans in low-income areas. Lewis’ accomplishments have inspired younger generations to continue to fight for civil rights. 

  1. Madame C.J. Walker

Madame C.J. Walker, born as Sarah Breedlove in 1867, is known for inventing hair care products for African Americans. Walker came up with the idea for her creation after suffering from hair loss and trying various remedies. She excelled at promoting her products and ended up becoming one of the first female self-made millionaires in the United States. Walker opened Madame C.J. Walker Laboratories for manufacturing her hair care products and other cosmetics. She also established these laboratories to pass on her business skills and knowledge to beauticians. Walker, who died in 1919, was also known for philanthropic achievements that focused on helping African American communities. These included founding organizations and funding scholarships to help improve the lives of those in these communities. 

  1. Mae C. Jemison

Mae C. Jemison, born in 1956, is a famous for being the first female African American astronaut. She also made history as the first female African American in space in 1992 when she flew as part of the Endeavor crew. Jemison earned her medical doctorate in 1981 and worked as a physician in the Peace Corps in Liberia and Sierra Leone. She returned to the U.S. in 1985 and shifted her focus to space as an astronaut with NASA. Jemison’s trip to space aboard the Endeavor was rewarded with several accolades, including honorary doctorates and the Ebony Black Achievement Award. She founded the Jemison Group for researching and developing advanced technologies and has served on the World Sickle Cell Foundation’s board of directors.

  1. Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman, who lived from 1892 to 1926, was known for being the first female African American to earn a pilot’s license and make a public flight in the U.S. After being denied entry to flight schools in the U.S., she moved overseas to France to earn her pilot’s license and develop her flying skills, which included stunt flying. Coleman continued doing aerial tricks and other stunts before dying in a tragic flight-related accident at the age of 34. Coleman is considered an inspiration and a pioneer for women aviators today due to her impressive accomplishments.

  1. Daniel Hale Williams

Daniel Hale Williams, born in 1856, was an African American doctor who is known for being among the first doctors to perform open-heart surgery in the U.S. Williams opened a medical facility, Provident Hospital and Training School, in 1891. It was the first medical facility in the U.S. to have an interracial staff. He was also the first Black physician to work for Chicago’s street railway system. Williams performed a successful open-heart procedure in 1893 at Provident Hospital. In addition to making history as an open-heart surgeon, Williams is also celebrated for his efforts at ensuring the presence of African Americans in the medical field.

If you’re exploring options for an undergraduate or graduate degree, please contact Geneva College. We offer a wide range of degrees from a Christ-centered approach to learning and education. We can help you find the right degree program to suit your interests and career path.

Opinions expressed in the Geneva Blog are those of its contributors and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official position of the College. The Geneva Blog is a place for faculty and contributing writers to express points of view, academic insights, and contribute to national conversations to spark thought, conversation, and the pursuit of truth, in line with our philosophy as a Christian, liberal arts institution.

Feb 4, 2021

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