Rosa Parks was not the first black woman who refused to move to the back of the bus.  Fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin (in photo, above) did the same thing nine months earlier, but her family feared she was too young to become the public face of such a racially charged issue.

Martin Luther King actually improvised most of his “I Have a Dream” speech.

The first African-American U.S. Senator, Hiram Revels, was appointed to represent the state of Mississippi in 1870 – just a few years after the Civil War.

Although the “Emancipation Proclamation” officially ended slavery in 1862, many basic rights of Blacks in America continued to be denied until much more recent times. 

Congress passed the 14th and 15th Amendments in 1868 and 1870, respectively, which together gave African-Americans full citizenship and the right to vote. The reality was, however, that most Blacks – particularly in the South – were denied access to voting for another 100 years.

Local and state officials concocted literary tests, constitutional tests, and tax payment guidelines that made many blacks ineligible to vote.  It was not until Congress passed the “Voting Rights Act” in 1965 that voting laws were finally enforced for all black citizens.

Other Sources for Black History Month Booklists:

Want to keep reading about Black History in America? Here are some good websites for book ideas: