28 Black History Facts

TELEVISION

1. Max Robinson was the first African-American news anchor in the United States. He was a co-anchor of ABC World News Tonight.

2. Max Robinson was also the founder of the National Association for Black Journalist.

3. Spike Lee is one of the most influential filmmakers acting, producing and/or directing over a total of 50 films.

4. Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Oscar in 1939 for her performance in Gone with the Wind.

5. Halle Berry was the first African American to win a Oscar in 2001 for best actress in the movie Monster’s Ball.

6.  Sidney Poitier, in 1963, was the first African American to win the best actor Oscar for his performance in Lilies of the Field.

7. Tyra Banks became the first African American to pose on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, GQ and the Victoria Secret catalog.

8. Ethel Waters was the first black woman to star in her own television show, “The Ethel Waters Show.”

9. Bill Cobsy was one of the first acknowledged African Americans to star in a network television show.

MUSIC

10. In 1958, Count Basie became the first African-American male to win a Grammy award for the first ever award of Best Jazz Performance.

11.  In 1958, Ella Fitzgerald became the first African-American female to win a Grammy award for Best Jazz Performance and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

12. Michael Jackson hold the record for most Grammy nomination in one night with a total of 12 nominations.

13. The first BET Award show was in June of 2001.

SPORTS

14.  Ella Fitzgerald was the first African American to perform during the Super Bowl halftime show in 1972.

15. In 2007 Tony Dungy of the Colts and Lovie Smith of the Bears were the first African Americans to coach the Super Bowl.

16. Bessie Coleman was the first African American licensed pilot in 1921.

17. Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers became the first black Major League Baseball player in 1947.

18. Jackie Robinson was also the first to be elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.

19. Tigers Woods was the first African American to win the Masters Golf Tournament in 1997.

EDUCATION

20.  HBCU is an acronym for Historically Black College and University. There are over 100 HBCUs in the United States.

21. The first established HBCU was Cheyney University in Pennsylvania during 1837.

22. Alpha Kappa Alpha was the first African-American sorority formed at Howard University in 1908.

23. Alpha Kappa Nu was the first African-American fraternity established in 1903 at Indiana University.

24. Madame C.J. Walker was the first African-American entrepreneur millionaire.

25. Robert Johnson, owner of Black Entertainment Television became the first African-American billionaire in 2001.

POLITICS

26. Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American major party candidate to run for president in 1972.

27. Majority of African-Americans are and have been Democrats.

28. According to the US Census Bureau as of 2013, there are 316.1 million African Americans in the United States.

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4 thoughts on “28 Black History Facts

  1. I love these sorts of lists. Please pardon me for pointing out a few mistakes in areas of my own expertise. It’s not intended to diminish what you’ve done. It takes a lot of work to fact-check such a wide-ranging survey!

    There are no Best Actor/Best Actress Grammy Awards. I expect these instances were repeated typos, and you really meant Oscars (or Academy Awards). Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie did win two Grammys each in the first year of those awards. The first black man to win an Oscar was actually one of those Honorary Oscars, awarded to James Baskett in 1948 for playing Uncle Remus in Song of the South (1946).

    TV has been slightly more receptive to promoting the work of African Americans than the movie biz. Ethel Waters hosted and starred in her own variety special way back in 1939. Waters, Hattie McDaniel, that first Oscar winner you noted, and Louise Beavers all starred in the title role of a TV sitcom called Beulah (1951-1952), long before Cosby. We also have the talented black cast of veteran comedians in the TV series adaptation of Amos and Andy, which ran from 1951-1953.

    Like nearly all sitcoms of the 1950s, these two shows first originated on radio, performed by white actors. I’m not really upset about the issue of stereotyping, since all forms of comedy rely heavily on stereotyping. I am glad that TV over the decades has evolved toward less extreme/more realistic stereotypes, but I think we can still honor talented black performers who opened doors, even back when the opportunities were few and far between.

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