February 1, 1865 – The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which abolished slavery was adopted by the 38th Congress.
February 1, 1902 – Langston Hughes, a famous poet, was born on this day in Joplin, Missouri.
February 2, 1915 – Ernest Just, a genetic biologist, won the first NAACP Spingarn Medal. He was recognized for his outstanding research in cell division and fertilization.
February 4, 1971 – National Guard mobilized to stop rioting in Wilmington, N.C. Two people were killed.
February 5, 1958 – Clifton R. Wharton Sr. was made a minister to Rumania (now spelled Romania). This career diplomat was the first Black to head a U.S. embassy in Europe.
The 1920s was the decade of the “New Negro,” the Post World War I generation with growing racial pride and consciousness.
William Loren Katz, an African-American history scholar and author of the book “The Black West,” says in the Smithsonian Magazine that after the Civil War, being a cowboy was one of the few jobs open to men of color who didn’t want to serve as elevator operators or delivery boys or similar jobs.
The United Kingdom celebrates Black History Month in October.
Josiah Henson fled slavery in Maryland in 1830 and later founded a settlement in Ontario, Canada, for other Black people who escaped to freedom.
Alexa Canady was the first female African American neurosurgeon in the United States.
In 2013, three Black women organizers, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, started a Black-centered movement called Black Lives Matter with a social media hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter. This came after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Black Lives Matter has organized demonstrations worldwide protesting police brutality, more recently after George Floyd’s death in 2020.
Onesimus was enslaved during the 17th century in Boston and told a Puritan church minister, Cotton Mather, about the old practice of inoculation in Africa. By taking material from an infected person and scratching it into the skin of a non-infected person, one could purposefully introduce smallpox to a healthy person making them immune. His traditional African practice was utilized to inoculate American soldiers during the Revolutionary War and the concept was introduced to the United States.
Information provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, https://library.law.howard.edu/, http://www.pbs.org/, and https://workplacediversity.com/.