Regions Bank too celebrates black history month; believing that African-American culture and achievement should be celebrated 365 days a year. That’s the idea behind 365Black.com.
1.Barack Obama is not only the first Black American President, he’s also a Grammy award winner. His audio books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, which won Best Spoken Word Album in 2008.
2.In 1926, Black History Month was originated by Carter Godwin as Negro History Week. February was chosen to honor Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln who share the birth month.
3.The electronic control devise (used for operation of guided missiles, control units for a pacemaker, and IBM computers) were invented by Otis Boykin (1920-1982)
4.Condoleezza Rice and Martin Luther King, Jr. started college when they were just 15 years old. She majored in political science at the University of Denver; he majored in sociology at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
5.In 1999 James West (1931- ) was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame for his research in sound technology. His findings led to the development of foil-electric transducers which are used in 90% of all microphones built and in most new telephones. West holds 47 U.S. patents and over 200 foreign ones.
6.In 1872 Elijah McCoy (1843-1929) invented an automatic lubricator for oiling steam engines. The reliability of his invention is referenced by the phrase “the real McCoy”
7.Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt became the first man to ever set three world records in a single Olympic games at the 2008 games.
8.Frederick Jones (1892-1961) invented the portable air conditioner which was used in World War II in order to preserve medicine and blood serum. He held over 60 patents, most pertained to refrigeration
9.Granville Woods (1856-1910) invented a system of overheard electric conducting lines, air brakes, and a telegraph system that allowed communication between moving trains. Numerous inventions of his related to the railroad
10.Lewis Temple (1800-1854) invented the toggle harpoon in 1848 which revolutionized the whaling industry.
11.Dr. Charles Drew (1904-1950) developed blood banks with the techniques he discovered to store blood.
12.Mark Dean (1957-) and Dennis Moelle created a microcomputer system (with bus control means for peripheral processing devices) which allows the use of computer plug-ins such as disk drives, speakers, scanners, etc.)
13.Jan Ernst Matzeliger (1852-1889) invented the Shoe Lasting machine which revolutionized the shoe making industry. The machine connected the upper part of the shoe to the sole, a painstaking process that was typically done by hand.
14.In 1881, Lewis Howard Latimer invented the carbon filament for light bulbs.
15. The media portrayed the Black Panthers as scandalous for their Afros, dark apparel, and willingness for armed self-defense. Their movement for change launched programs that benefited black communities all over the United States, like free dental care, breakfast for low-income children, etc.
16.Lonnie G. Johnson (1949- ) invented the Super Soaker water gun – the number one selling toy in America in 1991. He is an engineer once performed spacecraft system design for NASA.
17.In 1887, Alexander Miles patented an electric elevator with automatic doors; they closed off the shaft way, thus making elevators safer.
18.In 1872, Thomas J. Martin patented a fire extinguisher.
19.In 1897, John Love invented the pencil sharpener.
20.In 1885, Sarah E. Goode (1850-?) invented a bed that folded up into a cabinet. Though it has been believed that she was the first African-American women to receive a patent, she is actually the second.
21.Matthew Robinson, Baseball legend Jackie Robinson’s older brother was also a star athlete that won a silver medal in the 200-yard dash in the 1936 Olympics.
22.Andrew Jackson Beard (1849-1921) invented the “Jenny Coupler”, which is still used today; it allows train cars to hook themselves together when they are bumped into one another.
23.In 1886, Henry Brown created the “strongbox”: metal container to store money and important papers that could be locked with a key.
24.In 1895, Joseph Lee (1849-1905) invented a bread-making machine that mixed the ingredients and kneaded the dough.
25.In 1836, Henry Blair (1807-1860) invented a corn seed planter and a cotton planter in 1836. He was the second African-American to receive a patent; however, because he could not read or write he signed it with an X.
26.David Crosthwait Jr. (1898-1979) created the heating system for New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. An expert on heating/ventilation/air-conditioning, he holds 39 U.S. patents and 80 international ones.
27.Jesse Owens (1913-1980) broke many records at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The track and field star became the first athlete to win four gold medals in one Olympiad.
28.In 1897, L.P. Ray invented the dustpan.
29.In 1997, Tiger Woods (1975- ) became the youngest person and the first African-America to win the Masters Tournament and by a record breaking lead of 12 strokes. In 2005, he was the highest paid athlete: earning an estimated $87 million.
30.During the 1961 season, Will Chamberlain (1936-1999) became the first basketball player to score 100 points in a single game; he was also the first player in the NBA to score 30,000 points.
31.In 1984, Michael Jackson (1958-2009) was nominated for 12 Grammy awards and won a record breaking 8 awards in one night. He received 13 Grammys in his career and is a double inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as part of the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist). He holds the title of Most Top 10 Singles from an album (Thriller, 1982) and Most #1 Singles from an album (Bad, 1987)
32.In 1974, Henry “Hank” Aaron (1934- ) broke Babe Ruth’s home run record when he hit his 715th home run. He set a Major League record with 755 home runs in his career.
34.Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994) was born the 20th of 22 children and stricken with polio as a child. Not only did she overcome it, but in 1960 she broke world records in three Olympic track events and was the first American woman to do so.
35.In 1988, at the Olympics in Seoul Korea, Florence “Flo Jo” Griffith-Joyner (1959-1998) set the world record for the 100 and 200 meter dash. She was known for her stylish flair on the track.
36.In 2006, Whitney Houston (1963) was named the most awarded female artist of all time by the Guinness World Records. Her debut album (Whitney Houston, 1985) was the best selling debut album by a female artist for 13 years; her second album (Whitney, 1987) was her the first female to debut on the charts at number one in the U.S. and U.K. She had seven consecutive number one singles, a record breaking feat.
37.Beyonce Knowles (1981- ) is the first African-American woman to win “Songwriter of the Year” award at the ASCAP Pop Music Awards in 2001. She also holds the record for the longest run on the Billboard Hot 100. The award winning singer, songwriter, and actress is ranked as the second best selling female artist of the 21st century with record sales of over $37 million.
38.Michel Johnson (1967- ) is a sprinter known as “the fastest man in the world”. He has: won five Olympic gold medals; broken numerous world records, including his own; was the first man to win both the 200m and 400m races within the same Olympic game (1996)
39.Cassius Marcellus Clay also known as Muhammad Ali (1942- ) is the self proclaimed, “Greatest boxer of all time.”
40.At the age of 19 in 1942, Jesse Ernest Wilkins (1923) earned a PhD. in mathematics from the University of Chicago. He’s a physicist, mathematician and engineer.
41.Lewis Howard Latimer (1848-1928) patented an improved way to produce carbon filaments for light bulbs; he also drafted patent drawings for Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone while working at a patent law firm.
42.Until the 1800s the banjo was considered an instrument only played by blacks; it originated in Africa.
43.In 1983, Jesse Jackson (1941- ) successfully negotiated the release of Lieutenant Robert O. Goodman Jr., an African-American pilot who had been shot down over Syria and had been taken hostage.
44.Garrett Augustus (1877-1963) invented many things including the 3-way automatic stop sign. He later sold to General Electric and it was used in the U.S. until the 3-light traffic sign was developed
45.York, a black slave, accompanied Lewis and Clark during their expedition from Missouri to Oregon in 1804; his presence aided in their interactions with the Native Americans they encountered.
46.Isaac Murphy (1861-1896) was the first jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, The Kentucky Oaks, and the Clark handicap within the same year.
47.All black regiments of the U.S. Army were called “Buffalo Soldiers” starting in 1866. More than 20 received the highest Medal of Honor for their service (highest of any U.S. military unit). The oldest living member died in 2005 at the age of 111.
48.Jack Johnson (1878-1946) patented a wrench in 1922; he was the first African-America heavyweight champion.
49.Mayme Clayton (1923-2006), a Los Angeles librarian and historian, has a signed copy of the first book published by an African-American in an extensive collection of Black Americana which she amassed (rare books, photographs, films and memorabilia); it is housed at The Mayme A. Clayton Library and Cultural Center in L.A., Cali.
50.In 1971, Bill Pickett (1871-1932) was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame; the renowned cowboy and rodeo performer was honored by the U.S Postal Service as one of the twenty “Legends of the West.”
51.”Strange Fruit” the song made famous by Billie Holiday was originally a poem, about black lynching in the south, written by a Jewish schoolteacher from the Bronx named Abel Meeropol.
52.Chester “Howlin’Wolf” Arthur Burnett (1910-1976) was an important blues singer, songwriter and musician; he influenced some of the most popular rock groups including The Beatles. He lived a modest married life, avoiding drugs and alcohol while maintaining his financial success.
53.McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield (1913-1983) infused the electric guitar into the Delta country blues; he is considered the “Father of Chicago Blues”. He influenced popular rock bands; one named themselves after his popular 1950 song “Rollin Stone”: the Rolling Stones.
54.Thomas Andrew Dorsey (1899-1993) combined sacred words with secular rhythms which birthed Gospel Music; he was considered the father of this new genre. “Take My Hand Precious Lord”, his most famous composition, was recorded by the likes of Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, and many others.
55.In 2005, there were 2.4 million black military veterans in the U.S. which is the highest of any minority group. (American Community Survey)
56.In 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968) was stabbed by an African-American woman attending his book signing in Harlem, New York at Blumstein’s department store. In 1959, the Kings visited India to study Ghandi’s nonviolence philosophy.
57.In 1907, Nat “Deadwood Dick” Love’s (1854-1921) autobiography “The Life and Adventures of Nat Love, Better Known in the Cattle Country as Deadwood Dick” was published. The renowned and skilled cowboy was the only African-American cowboy to publish a biography which he had wrote.
58.The word ‘jazz’ is a slang term which once referred to a sexual act. Jazz, a combination of Blues, Ragtime, and marching band, originated in Louisiana during the turn of the 19th century.
59.During the 1940s the “306 Group” provided support and apprenticeship for African-America artists. The guild like club was founded by Charles Alston at 306 West 141st Street in Harlem, NY. The location served as a studio and meeting place for many artists such as Langston Hughes, Augusta Savage, Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden.
60.Philadelphia was known as “The Black Capital of Anti-Slavery” in the mid-1800s” because¬ of the strong abolitionist presence there with support from such groups as The Philadelphia Female Anti-Slavery Society, The Philadelphia Young Men’s Anti-Slavery Society and The Philadelphia Anti-Slavery Society.
61.In 1797, Paul Cuffee (1759-1817) founded the first integrated school in Massachusetts. In 1815, the philanthropist, ship captain, and devout Quaker transported 38 free African-Americans to Sierra Leone, Africa in the hopes of establishing Western Africa.
62.The first black Pony Express riders are thought to be George Monroe and William Robinson, Monroe was also a stagecoach driver for President Ulysses S. Grant
63.Former slave, Nancy Green was employed in 1893 to promote the Aunt Jemima brand. She was a popular attraction at fairs and expos where she demonstrated the pancake mix with her friendly personality, great story-telling, and warmth. The pancake company signed a lifetime contact with Green and her image was used for packaging and billboards
64.Buffalo Soldiers is a name respectfully given in the 1800s to the African-American cavalries by the Native American Kiowa tribe. The Buffalo Soldiers served in the Spanish American war, various Indian wars and helped installed telegraph lines which helped to settle the west. Approximately 20 Buffalo Soldiers have received the Medal of Honor, the highest military award-the most any military unit has ever received.
65.Musical genius Ray Charles Robinson, a pioneer in blending gospel and the blues, shortened his name to just Ray Charles to prevent confusion with the great boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. At an early age Ray Charles began going blind and was completely blind by the time he was 7 years old. In 1986 Ray Charles was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
66.Wally Amos, known as “Famous Amos” the creator of the Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies and a talent agent at the William Morris Agency. “Famous Amos” worked with the likes of The Supremes, Simon & Garfunkel, and various child stars.
67.Considered the greatest boxer of all time and only female Buffalo Soldier, Cathay Williams was born into slavery and worked for the Union army during the Civil War. Posed as a man, she enlisted as Williams Cathay in the 38th infantry in 1866. She was given a medical discharge in 1868.
68.Walker Smith Jr. became known as Sugar Ray Robinson when he borrowed his friend Ray Robinson’s Amateur Athletic Union card and in 1940 became the Golden Glove Lightweight champion using the borrowed name. Sugar Ray Robinson is considered the greatest boxer of all time with a boxing style described as “sweet as sugar” hence the name Sugar Ray Robinson stuck. Robinson held the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951 and was middleweight champion five times between 1951 and 1960 making him the first boxer in history to win a divisional world championship five times.
69.Publisher and salve Harriet Ann Jacobs (1813 – 1897) published “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” in 1861 under the pseudonym Linda Brent. The book chronicles the hardships and sexual abuse she experienced as a female growing up in slavery. In 1835 she fled slavery by hiding in a crawlspace in her grandmother’s attic for nearly seven years, she then traveled to Philadelphia by boat, and eventually to New York.
70.The first African-American to receive a patent was Thomas L. Jennings in 1821. The patent was for a dry-cleaning process, Jennings used the money earned from the patent to purchase relatives out of slavery and support abolitionist causes.
71.The first African-American woman to receive a patent was Judy W. Reed in 1884 for a hand-operated machine used to knead and roll dough.
72.Josiah Henson founded a settlement in Ontario, Canada for fugitive slaves when he fled slavery in Maryland in 1830. His autobiography “The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself” (1849) is believed to have been the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s main character in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”. Henson’s cabin in Maryland still stands today and is a national landmark. Mathew Henson, Josiah Henson’s grandson, was part of the first successful U.S. expedition to the North Pole in 1909.
73.The first licensed African-American pilot in the world was Bessie Coleman (1893-1926); she received aviation instruction in France.
74.The first African-American to be honored on a U.S. stamp, was Booker T. Washington in 1940
75.The first African-Americans admitted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1990 were George Washington Carver who made agricultural advancements and inventions pertaining to the use of peanuts and Percy Julian, who helped create drugs to combat glaucoma.
76.The first free school for African-Americans was The African Free School in New York City; it was started by the abolitionist group the New York Manumission Society in 1787
77.Autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou’s is the first non-fiction work by an African-American woman to make the best-seller list.
78.The first African-American tennis player to compete in the U.S. Championships was Althea Gibson in 1950 and at Wimbledon in 1951. She won the women’s singles and doubles at Wimbledon in 1957, which was celebrated by a ticker tape parade when she returned home to New York City.
79.Arthur Ashe (1943-1993) was the first African-America to: be named U.S. Davis Cup team (1963); win the U.S Open (1968); win the men’s singles at Wimbledon (1975); be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame (1985)
80.The first African-American and the second woman to serve as the United States Surgeon General was Minnie Jocelyn Lee Elders, her term lasted for 15 months (1993 – 1994)
81.In 1987, Ben Carson (1951- ) led the first successful operation to separate a pair of Siamese twin infants who were joined at the back of the head.
82.In 1999, Maurice Ashley (1966- ) became the first and only African American to be crowned International Grand Master of chess. Soon after, he opened the Harlem Chess Center where he couches young people.
83.In 1975, Lee Elder (1934- ) became the first African-American golfer to play in the Masters Tournament; during his career he has won four PGA tournaments and eight Senior PGA tournaments.
84.Madame C.J. Walker (born Sarah Breedlove) (1876-1919) is the first female American millionaire. Her specialized hair products for African-American hair were the direct contributor to her fortune.
85.Alexa Canady graduated from medical school in 1975; she went on to become the first female African-American neurosurgeon in the U.S.
86.In 1968, Diahann Carrol (1935- ) starred in her own, though controversial, television series about a single working mother raising her child. She was the first African-American to have her own series; “Julia” was a Nielsen top ten rated show.
87.In 1925, Alain Locke (1886-1954) wrote about the Harlem Renaissance in “The New Negro”. The writer, philosopher and intellectual was the first African-American Rhodes Scholar.
88.Robert L. Johnson (1946) became the first African American billionaire due to his founding of Black Entertainment Television (BET)
89.In 1816, The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) became the first national black church in the U.S.; it was founded by Richard Allen (1760-1831).
90.The first person to discover that insects can hear was zoologist and educator Charles Henry Turner (1867-1923).
91.In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper (1856-1940) graduated from West Point Academy; he was the first African-American to do so. He went on to become the first black commander when he was assigned to the Buffalo Soldier regiment: the 10th Calvary.
92.In 1950, Ralph J. Bunche (1904-1971) won the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the Arab-Israeli truce. The politician and U.N. diplomat was the first African-American to win the award.
93.In 1988, Debi Thomas (1967- ) became the first African-American to win a medal (bronze) at the Winter Olympic Games in figure skating. Vonetta Flowers (1973- ) became the first African-American to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games (2002).
94.In 1955, Marian Anderson (1898-1993) became the first African-American to perform with the NY Metropolitan Opera; she was a contralto singer.
95.In 1956, Nathaniel “Nat King Cole” Adams Cole (1919-1965) hosted his own national television program: ‘The Nat King Cole Show’. The singer, songwriter, pianist was the first African-American to do so.
96.Richard Theodor Greener (1844-1922) began his post secondary career at Oberlin College: the first American college to admit African-Americans. He then attended and graduated from Harvard in 1870, becoming the first African-American to do so. Greener went on to become a lawyer.
97.In 1941 The U.S. government began to select groups of extensively tested and rigorously trained African-Americans to be transported to the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. These airmen were the first African-American pilots in the U.S. armed forces; they are depicted in the G.I. Joe action figure series and the 2012 George Lucas film ‘Red Tails’.
98.The first professional African-American sculptor was Edmonia Lewis (1844- ); she often sculpted courageous and inspiration people such as Cleopatra, Phillis Wheatly, etc.
99.With over 40 years and 36 number one hits to his career, Charley Pride (1938- ) is one of the most successful African-American country singers of all time. In 2000, he became the first African American to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He also was a baseball player with the Negro League and the Memphis Red Sox prior to his music career.
100.Deford Bailey (1899-1982) was the first African-American to perform at the Grand Ole Opry and one of the first African-American stars of country music. The wizard behind the harmonica was most notable for mimicking the sound of locomotives.
102.George Carruthers (1939- ) invented the far ultraviolet electrographic camera which revealed new features of Earth’s far-out atmosphere and deep space objects from the perspective of the lunar surface. The camera was used in the 1972 Apollo 16 mission. In 2003, Carruthers was inducted into the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame.
103.In 1878, Joseph Winters invented a fire escape ladder.
104.George T. Sampson patented his clothes dryer invention on June 7, 1892 which used heat from a stove
105.In 1896, C.B. Brooks invented the street sweeper: a truck equipped with brooms