Black History Month

Lauryn McCollum

As Black History Month comes to an end, it is important to take the time to reflect on the impact and influence that this month revolves around. Black History Month, also known as the African American History Month, takes place during the month of February as a notion of remembrance and honor regarding the achievements within the African American community. A tradition that originated in 1976, is the idea of designating a specific theme to Black History Month every year by an American President. This year’s theme “African Americans and the Vote” highlights the anniversary of the 19th Amendment (1920), granting women’s suffrage and the 15th Amendment (1870), giving black men the right to vote.

The influence of the African American community on America is important to acknowledge and pay tribute to, as many of these African Americans paved the way for numerous advancements in American society. Compiling a list of these people and their accomplishments does not nearly express the immense influence of their contributions, however it is an act of conveying appreciation and admiration.

· John Baxter Taylor Jr.- The first African American to win an Olympic gold medal. (1908)

· Garrett Morgan- Inventor of 3-way traffic signal. (1923)

· Frederick McKinley Jones- Inventor of refrigerated trucks. (1940)

· Alexander Miles- Inventor of Automatic Elevator doors. (1887)

· Alice H. Parker- Inventor of a furnace that supplies central heating to homes and buildings (1919). Paved the way for the birth of the thermostat.

· Dr. Mae Jemison- The first African American woman to go into space aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor. (1992)

Facts about Black History Month and African American originated inventions can be found on websites such as or