Black History Month - 2019
I’m adopted and was raised by a white family in rural Arkansas. As much as my parents tried to teach me about Black History, they were limited in their knowledge and the public school system fell short. I’ve done A Poster A Day series every February. My goal in this is to both learn more about Black historical figures and events but also share that knowledge with others in engaging and exciting ways. Each poster is accompanied with a writeup or video explaining the significance of the subject.
This has been one of my favorite recurring projects as it gives me a challenge to communicate effectively while also giving me creative freedom to see the task through.
Here are some of my favorites from 2019.
Firsts are a big deal. Kids often need to see that something’s possible before they think they can do it.
Hiram Rhodes Revels was born free in North Carolina in 1827, and went on to live quite the interesting life. Over the course of his 73 years, he served during the civil war, owned a business, was a principal for a black college, was a minister to four churches and to cap it all off: the first African-American to serve in Congress.
His background in ministry helped him appeal to the community, and the life he lived impacted many others. After opening with a prayer at the state legislature, those who heard it were impressed that he was not only a man who was talented, but also a man that who has achieved and overcome a lot. His time in Congress was a fiery catalyst for others like him to pursue civil service.
The Negro League
Black men had been playing baseball for as long as whites (professionally as early as 1885!), but discrimination and segregation kept them from fully participating in white leagues.
There were dozens of groups that played baseball informally (typically in minor leagues), but from 1920-1960, 7 different leagues rose and fell in popularity. Some stars to come out of the Negro leagues include Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige. In addition to catering to African Americans, the Negro League opened doors for Latin Americans to participate in peofessional baseball.
Fun fact: The MLB held a special draft in 2008 where each team drafted one of the surviving members of the Negro League. This was done in honor of the League and to make up for the fact that they were excluded in the first place. (Also, I know this was only 11 years ago but I was like 14 and obsessed with football & Runescape at the time, so cut me some slack haha)