Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for
recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans.

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history. The contributions of African-Americans have been invaluable to our society at large. While there is no blueprint for how to celebrate Black History Month, there are many things to do in and around your city as we celebrate this special month.

Here at Olamild Ent., we are celebrating by sharing these 6 facts that you probably never knew.

► You probably know that Maya Angelou was the first African-American woman to write a non-fiction best-seller. But perhaps you don't know that Phillis Wheatley was the first published African- American female author. She was a servant who published her first poem at the age of 12 in the mid-1700s.

► Liberia was founded and colonized by expatriates. The West African country is one of two sovereign states in the world started as a colony for ex-slaves and marginalized blacks. Sierra Leone is the other.

► Lincoln University in Pennsylvania is the United States' first degree-granting historically black university. It paved the way for the 104 other historically black colleges, which have produced distinguished alums like Thurgood Marshall, Spike Lee and Oprah.

► Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress in 1968 and the first black major-party presidential candidate.

► Tice Davids, a runaway slave from Kentucky, was the inspiration for the first usage of the term “Underground Railroad.” When he swam across the Ohio River to freedom, his former owner assumed he’d drowned and told the local paper if Davids had escaped, he must have traveled on "an underground railroad." (Davids actually made it alive and well.)

► You might know that Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie were the first African-Americans to win GRAMMY Awards. But did you know that Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Oscar, was not allowed to attend the national premier of Gone with the Wind, the film featuring her winning performance, because she was black?

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