Black History Facts of The Week


  1. Willie Christine King, born in September 1927, in Atlanta, Georgia, was the oldest sister of Martin Luther King, Jr., and was a professor at Spelman College for nearly 50 years. She retired in 2014 at 86 years old. She is the only living sibling of Dr. King Jr.


  1. Lamont Dozier, and brothers Brian Holland and Eddie Holland were the dynamic trio songwriting and production team behind the powerful sound that was the signature sound to Motown Records.


  1. Charlotte “Lottie” Wilson, born in Niles, Michigan in 1854, was the first Black artist to have work exhibited at the White House after painting Sojourner Truth meeting President Lincoln. She is a devoted suffragist and spoke nationally about women’s rights. She died in 1914.


  1. Dr. Alexa Canady is the first Black, female neurosurgeon at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. In May 1984, Dr. Canady was certified by the Board of Neurological Surgery as the first, black, female neurosurgeon in the United States; she was 34 at the time.


  1. Born in 1918 in West Virginia, iconic figure Katherine Johnson was only 10 years old when she started high school. She was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) Langley Laboratory. She retired from NASA in 1986. Actress Taraji P. Henson played her in the movie, Hidden Figures.


  1. The Black Panthers, also known as the Black Panther Party, was created in 1966 as a political organization that Huey Newton founded along with Bobby Seale to stand up against police brutality in the Black community. Its peak was in 1968 with about 2,000 members. It was dismantled due to internal issues, FBI counterintelligence initiatives to weaken the organization, and other factors. The Ku Klux Klan, an American white supremacist hate group, founded nearly 100 years earlier in 1865, interestingly enough, still exists and was never dismantled.


  1. Former NASA engineer and entrepreneur Lonnie Johnson, 71, is best known for inventing the Super Soaker water gun.


  1. Joshua Beckford attended Oxford University at just six years old. The child prodigy, who lives with high-functioning autism, is now 13 years old and wants to become a doctor when he grows up.


  1. Daisy Bates, born in 1914 in Arkansas and died in 1999, worked with the NAACP, and when the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that the segregation of schools was unconstitutional, it was Bates who began helping Black students enroll in all-white schools.


  1. Dr. Michael Obeng, the first Black plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, of Ghanaian descent, is Harvard-trained and board-certified. Obeng removed Gorilla Glue from Louisiana Teacher Tessica Brown’s hair after it was stuck to her head and made her famous on social media platforms for her hair blunder.


  1. The Colored Hockey League (CHL) of Maritimes in Nova Scotia was created in 1894 across Canadian provinces — 22 years before the National Hockey League was formed. The first all-Black ice hockey league held over a dozen teams and employed over 400 African-Canadian players. The athletic men in the league confronted the stereotypes that Black people did not ice skate or play hockey. Many hockey ideas were thought to have come from the CHL. Sadly, the CHL contributions were ignored and copied by white leagues, who stole many of the game-changing aspects. The league was later dismantled because of racism and discrimination. There is little to no reference to the CHL in any Canadian hockey archives.


  1. William Joseph Seymour (1870–1922) was a prominent African-American religious leader in the early 20th century. Seymour was an ordained minister and the son of freed slaves. Seymour is regarded as one of the founders of modern Pentecostalism, a form of Christianity that believes in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, and divine healing, among other powerful moves of God.


  1. Entrepreneur and inventor Sarah E. Goode was the first Black woman to receive a United States patent. She was born into slavery in 1850, for her creation of a folding cabinet bed in 1885 — similarly to the modern Murphy bed. Goode moved to Chicago and later on became an entrepreneur. Her husband Archibald, was a carpenter, and they owned a furniture store and they helped many of their customers with their cramped living arrangements. She died in 1905.


  1. Former State Rep. Charline White, a Cass Technical High School graduate, was born in 1920 and was the first African American woman elected to the Michigan Legislature in 1950. She was born in 1920 and opened her own floral business. She served at the time of her unexpected death at only 39 years old in 1959.


  1. Founded in 1965, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History has been one of the cornerstone’s of documenting the contributions and stories of African Americans near and far. Through countless permanent and visiting exhibitions, over 300 annual public events and programs, along with education and research opportunities for all, The Wright educates visitors and holds over 35,000 artifacts about the “African American experience.” Annually, over half a million people visit The Wright.



Information provided by, @blackdetroiters, Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, University of Nebraska Medical Center,,,,,,,,, /,, Michigan State Capitol,


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