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Black History Is American History



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To the Editor:

We celebrate Black History Month starting Thursday, February 1. Greatly looking forward to the school- and community-wide displays & events throughout this month.

On behalf of Newtown Allies for Change, we recognize and honor the profound ways Black Americans have shaped the fabric of our country and continue to acknowledge that Black History is American History.

Here are some Black History notable names and lesser known facts to share!

1. Booker T. Washington (April 5, 1856-November 14, 1915)

Booker T. Washington was an American educator, author, and advisor to several presidents of the United States. He was one of the last generations of Black American leaders born into slavery. He became a teacher, speaker, and the leading voice of former slaves and their descendants against discriminatory laws. He is remembered as the most influential African American speaker between 1895 and 1915.

2. The Invention of the Ice Cream Scooper.

In 1897, Alfred L. Cralle invented the ice cream scooper, after noticing ice cream servers having trouble dropping spoon fulls of ice cream into a cone. They would have to use two spoons to scrape the sticky ice cream into the cone. He created and patented the mechanical device we now know as the ice cream scoop.

3. Claudette Colvin — Civil Rights Activist (1939-present)

Nine months before Rosa Parks, there was a young woman named Claudette Colvin. On March 2, 1955, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin was riding home on a city bus after school. She refused to give up her seat to a white passenger who boarded the bus, was arrested and jailed. Colvin was then involved in the landmark Browder v Gayle case of 1956, which ruled that the segregation laws of Alabama state were unconstitutional.

4. The Invention of Potato Chips.

George Crum was a chef at a New York resort. In 1853, a customer sent his french fries back to the kitchen, claiming that they weren’t good. In an irritated fit, Crum cut the potatoes as thinly as possible, fried them until they were burnt crisps, and threw a generous handful of salt on top. Thus, the potato chip was born!

5. Rock and Roll Music

Chuck Berry was an African American singer, songwriter and guitarist who is known as the “Father of Rock & Roll.” He developed elements of rhythm and blues that were a major influence on the rock and roll music that we hear today.

6. Amanda Gorman is the first ever United States National Youth Poet Laureate. Her work focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race and marginalization. In 2021, when she was only 22 years old, she delivered her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

For more information on Black inventors and innovators check out blackinventor.com.

And for additional information on antiracism efforts in Newtown and our 2nd annual Black History Month trivia event go to newtownallies.org.

Happy Black History Month

Nerlande Foote

Newtown Allies for Change


A letter from Nerlande Foote.
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