Black History Facts All Students Should Know

"Black History Month" written in colorful letters.

Today we speak to Rowan students from three different colleges who share insight on key moments in Black history and suggest books and movies to learn more. 

“Black History Month originally began as Negro History Week, created by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. It only became Black History Month in 1976 when President Gerald Ford called for the public to ‘seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.’ The month of February also coincided with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.” 

Gregory Williams, a freshman Dance major from South River, NJ (Middlesex County) is a resident on campus at Magnolia Hall. Gregory says he learned about Black history mostly through social media and his own research online. He recommends students read “Stamped from the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi or view the movies “Selma,” “13th” and “Harriet” to educate themselves about Black history. 

Gregory poses outside the student center in a Rowan sweatshirt.
Gregory Williams

“Jack Johnson became the first African American to be a world heavyweight champion.”

Latiesha Small, a freshman Biological Sciences and Mathematics double major from Matawan, NJ (Monmouth County), is a resident on campus at Evergreen Hall. Latiesha says she learned about Black history from her family. 

Latiesha poses at a table.
Latiesha Small

“Before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, there was a young girl named Claudette Colvin who refused first.”

Jamar Green, a junior Law & Justice Studies major with an Africana Studies minor, is from Linden, NJ (Union County). Jamar transferred to Rowan from Union County College and is a resident on campus at 230 Victoria. He is a first-generation college student. Jamar says he learned about Black history by researching. “I was always told by my grandfather if you want to know your history you have to learn it for yourself, so I read articles, books and watched videos, documentaries and movies.” A book that he recommends for students to educate themselves about Black history is “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass.

Jamar Green sits and smiles, wearing a red vest.
Jamar Green

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Story and photo of Gregory by:
Rachel Rumsby, sophomore communication studies and public relations double major

Photo of Latiesha provided by:
Latiesha Small, freshman biological Sciences and mathematics double major

Photo of Jamar provided by:
Jamar Green, junior law and justice studies major

Header photo courtesy of:
Pixabay

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