Barack Obama Has A Grammy?!: Black History Facts That Are Sure To Surprise You

February 18, 2015  |  
10 of 15

Sure you know everything about the Buffalo Soldiers and The Underground Railroad? Check out these black history facts that are sure to surprise you.

Kanye’s Not The Only One Upset With The Upset With The Grammys

Will Smith and Jeffrey Allen Townes (DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince) won the first-ever Grammy for Best Rap Performance. They boycotted the Grammys because the rap category was (and still is) barred from TV.

Cracker Has Nothing To Do With Saltines

During the slave days of the US, it was actually a shortened form of “whip-cracker” used to describe poor whites of “person of lower caste or criminal disposition” who cracked whips over slaves and livestock.

A Man Once Mailed Himself To Freedom

His name was Henry “Box” Brown. He closed himself in a shipping box and endured the 27-hour trip from Richmond to Philadelphia inside of it.

George Washington Carver Didn’t Just Invent Peanut Butter

He also invented moveable schools — with teachers and materials that could travel to remote areas — that is still used to bring education to underdeveloped areas around the world.

He was also the first African-American to enroll at Iowa State University (where he received his bachelor’s and masters) and the leading agricultural scientist and nutrition expert of his day. Even Mahatma Gandhi consulted him to improve agriculture and nutrition in India.

A Slave Owner Named The Underground Railroad

Tice Davids escaped his master by swimming across the Ohio River to freedom. His master assumed that Tice drowned and told the local paper that if Davids did escape he must have traveled on “an underground railroad.”

Rosa Parks Wasn’t The First To Refuse To Give Up Her Seat

Journalist Ida Wells-Barnett refused to give up her train seat for a white man in 1884 — and then bit the conducter on the hand when he tried to force her to move. She was dragged off of the train and successfully sued the railroad but the decision was eventually overturned.

There Was A Female Buffalo Soldier

Her name was Cathay Williams. She posed as a man named William Cathay and enlisted in the 38th infantry in 1866. She served for two years before her sex was discovered during a doctor’s exam and she was discharged.

Sojourner Truth Has A Real Name

It’s Isabella Baumfree

Jackie Robinson’s Legacy Doesn’t End With Baseball

After he retired from the sport, he established the African-American owned and controlled Freedom Bank.

Diahann Carroll Was The First Black Woman To Have Her Own TV Series

Julia ran from 1968 to 1971.

Frank Wills Discovered The Watergate Scandal

Frank Wills was on duty as a security guard at the Watergate Hotel when he found a piece of tape holding a door between the garage and the stairwell open. He investigated around the hotel and discovered five men bugging the Democratic National headquarters.

But even though Frank Wills’ discovery stopped Nixon’s illegal wiretapping and use of the FBI and CIA to harrass political activists, Frank struggled to find work after his role in Nixon’s impeachment was discovered.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Is A Real Place

It’s located in North Bethesda, Maryland. It was once the home of Josiah Henson who is believed to be the inspiration for the novel.

John Carlos and Tommie Smith Didn’t Just Raise Their Fists

They also wore black socks and no shoes to represent black poverty in America during their protest at the 1968 Olympics.

Barack Obama Has A Grammy

He won Best Spoken Word Album in 2008 for his audio book Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope.

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