To close out Black History Month, this week’s thread topic will be on some little known or just plain interesting black history facts.
FACT 1: Allensworth is the first all-black Californian township, founded and financed by African Americans. Created by Lieutenant Colonel Allen Allensworth in 1908, the town was built with the intention of establishing a self-sufficient city where African Americans could live their lives free of racial prejudice.
FACT 2: Black ingenuity helped devise creative — and effective — plans to escape enslavement. In 1848, husband-and-wife team William and Ellen Craft made it to the North, and eventually England, when she dressed as a white man and he posed as one of her slaves. A year later,Henry “Box” Brown literally mailed himself to freedom in a shipping box during a 27-hour trip from Richmond to Philadelphia.
FACT 3: After African-American performer Josephine Baker expatriated to France, she famously smuggled military intelligence to French allies during World War II. She did this by pinning secrets inside her dress, as well as hiding them in her sheet music.
FACT 4: Architect Paul Williams mastered the art of drawing upside down so that he could sit across from — not next to — white clients who didn’t want to sit side-by-side with a black person.
FACT 5: Josiah Henson fled slavery in Maryland in 1830 and later founded a settlement in Ontario, Canada, for other black citizens who had escaped. His autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, as Narrated by Himself (1849), is believed to have been Harriet Beecher Stowe’s inspiration for the main character in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
A special mention
Three African-American brothers are the grandfathers of punk music. Check out the documentary n this group if you get a chance.
Death is a garage rock and protopunk demo band formed in Detroit, Michigan, in 1971 by brothers Bobby (bass, vocals), David (guitar), and Dannis (drums) Hackney. The African American trio started out as an R&B band but switched to rock after seeing The Who play. Seeing Alice Cooper play was also an inspiration. Music critic Peter Margasak retrospectively wrote that David “pushed the group in a hard-rock direction that presaged punk, and while this certainly didn’t help them find a following in the mid-70s, today it makes them look like visionaries.”
***All of the facts are found on Biography.com***