Everything I Wish I Learned in History Class

Aug 27, 2020 | Experiences | 0 comments

Everything I Wished I Learned in History Class

By Arianna Williams


Growing up, many African Americans are left in the dark about many of the moments that make up our history. In history class, we were taught about the Triangular Slave Trade,  Slavery in America, 40 acres and a mule, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and that’s about it. Schools do not realize that these events taught to us in class barely scratch the surface of all the eye-opening and revolutionary moments that happened before we were even thought of. Because of this, The Underrep’d has allowed me to create a list of facts of what I wish I was taught in history class. 

  1. White people did not create Rock & Roll. In fact, the Beach Boys got their hit song Surfin’ U.S.A from Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen, while Elvis Presley constantly recorded his song along with Little Walter’s My Babe. Before all of them, the first Black Rock & Roll artist was a woman by the name of Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
  2. Many people know Nat Turner for his rebellion against slavery. What they don’t know is that once he was caught he was skinned, cut up, cooked, and his bodily fluids were made in a drink so that they could feast upon him for dinner. 
  3. The Roots series is based on Alex Haley’s family records. Alex Haley also wrote various books like the Autobiography of Malcolm X, Queen, and the screenplay for 1973 Superfly. 
  4. Motown Records had a record label for Spoken Word.
  5. We know about Ford and Honda but not many people know that there is only one Black owned automobile company: CR Patterson & Sons.


6. Many people know Rosa Parks for not giving up her seat on the bus, but we tend to forget about Claudette Colvin. Colvin was 15 years old and did the same thing before Rosa Parks. 

7. Betty Boop was based on Jazz singer Ester Jones.

8. Many know of Madam C. J. Walker and her impact on Black hair care, but no one really talks about her daughter, A’Lelia Walker, who was a patron of the arts in New York during the Harlem Renaissance. A’Lelia also housed Black members of the LGBTQ community at that time. 

9. Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman to be congressman of New York. She was also with being the first African American and African American Woman to run for president.

10. Voodoo is a misunderstood religion amongst many households. It was created in slavery when slaves combined their West African beliefs with Roman Catholicism.

11. Aretha Franklin was the first woman and first African American woman to be inducted to the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

12. Allensworth, California, was founded in 1908 by Colonel Allen Allensworth and a group of other men. Allensworth was founded, governed, and financed by African Americans. The intentions of this town was to create a city where African Americans could run everything and live free of discrimination. 

13. The Black Panther Party did more than give the government a run for their money. The Black Panther Party gave free breakfast to children, provided screenings for Sickle Cell Anemia, and created many programs that supported the African American community. 

14. The Pan Africanism Movement emphasizes the idea that everyone of African descent should work together because of the common culture. It’s described as a sense of “brotherhood” or the idea that all African Americans should support and win together. 

15. Alain Loke’s book The New Negro discusses the “myth” of the “Old Negro” and how he can no longer define the “New Negro” because he is evolving. This makes sense because it expresses the change of the African American man in the Harlem Renaissance. 

16. Phillis Wheatley was the first African American author of a poetry book. She was brought to America to be a slave and was one of the few who were able to obtain freedom. 

17. Jean Baptiste Point du Sable founded Chicago. 

18. The first chapter of  Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison was published years before the book came out. 

19. African Americans had their own genre of film called Race Film. It was called Race Film because from 1915 to the early 1950s these films were produced by and made for African Americans.

20. Black history will never stop because we live through it everyday, and we will continue to fight and beat the odds that are against us. 



Alex Haley Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.softschools.com/facts/black_history/alex_haley_facts/3679/

Colarossi, N. (2020, June 26). African American history you probably weren’t taught in school. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.insider.com/african-american-history-you-probably-werent-taught-in-school-2020-6

Flock, E. (2017, March 20). Without Chuck Berry, these 10 famous rock songs would not exist. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.pbs.org/newshour/arts/without-chuck-berry-10-famous-rock-songs-not-exist

Kuryla, P. (2016, April 29). Pan-Africanism. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pan-Africanism

Mikell, R. (2020, July 04). The History of Allensworth, California (1908- ) •. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/history-allensworth-california-1908/

Motown Mic. (2020, March 12). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.motownmuseum.org/about-the-museum/motownmic/

Phillis Wheatley. (2020, June 23). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.biography.com/writer/phillis-wheatley

Radford, B. (2013, October 30). Voodoo: Facts About Misunderstood Religion. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.livescience.com/40803-voodoo-facts.html

Shirley Chisholm. (2020, June 23). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.biography.com/political-figure/shirley-chisholm

[{“@type”:”Person”, “. (2020, June 09). 17 Black History Facts You Won’t Find In A Textbook. Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.buzzfeed.com/kristenmartin/black-history-facts-you-wont-find-in-a-textbook

10 Facts About Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’. (2017, September 04). Retrieved July 30, 2020, from https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/502857/10-facts-about-ralph-ellisons-invisible-man



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