Remembering the legacies that came before us

By Kristyn Green

Being a student at an HBCU, you may think you know all there is to now about Black history.

With a course in African studies being a part of the required curriculum, it’s safe to say that DSU students have a working knowledge of black history but there are many hidden facts that we do not know.

We all know that Martin Luther King Jr. was essential in the civil rights movement, but did you know that Martin Luther King was not his original name?

According to History.com Martin Luther King Jr. was in fact named Michael Luther Jr. on January 15th 1939.

After his father went on a trip to Ger-many he became inspired by Martin Luther and changed his name as well as his son’s in 1934.

We know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a scholar. According to History.com he enrolled into college at the age of 15 after being skipped twice in high school.

We have all heard the story of Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat, but were you aware that Claudette Colvin did the same thing nine months prior?

According toMontogomeryboycott.com, Claudette Colvin, on March 2nd 1955, was incarcerated for refusing to give up her seat.

Colvin was the tender age of 15 and a member of the NAACP youth chapter of Montgomery.

There was great unrest over Colvin serving as the test case to challenge Montgomery bus seating laws.

Colvin went on to testify in the Montgomery federal court hearing in the Browder v. Gayle case that declared segregated buses unconstitutional.

When we celebrate the March on Washington of 1963 we often remember the “I Have a Dream Speech”.

Who orchestrated it? The names that may come to mind may be further from the truth then you think.

Bayard Rustin is our guy.

According to pbs.org Rustin lived and worked in the deepest of shadows.

He wasn’t trying to hide who he was.

Rustin’s life style and former ties with the Community party were viewed to serve as a liability.

Madame C. J Walker is known for her invention of the hot comb but should be remembered for so much more.

According to pbs.org, Madame C.J. Walker was the first African American Women to become a millionaire.

Contrary to popular belief Walker did not invent the hot comb she improved it. According to A’Lelia Bundles Biography “Black Women in America” Marcel Grateau a Frenchman popularized it in Europe.

Madame C.J. Walker improved it by giv-ing it wider teeth.

According to Pbs.org Walker’s company founded 40,000 agents.

She also founded hair-culture colleges at established back institutions.

This gave women a way out of poverty and an avenue to a better life style.

“Black history isn’t a separate history. This is all of our history, this is American history, and we need to understand that. It has such an impact on kids and their values and how they view black people.” Karyn Parsons.

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