Black History Month at EMU

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photo credit: University of Iowa

According to, Black History Month was first established in 1915. Throughout the centuries, the significance of this particular month has played a huge role in defining the true meaning behind African Americans and their culture. Whether it is breaking records or creating a platform for other minorities, African American identity plays a huge role in the United States as a whole.

Historical African Americans and Places

Garrett Morgan Sr. ( the inventor of the first traffic lights)

  • Born in Claysville (Harrison County, Kentucky), Morgan later moved to Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 14 years old due to employment.
  • Later on, Morgan established his own business in Cleveland, Ohio, dealing with sewing machines. Throughout his time in Cleveland, Morgan was able to develop his own invention of a belt fastener for the sewing machines, establishing a patent in 1912.  
  • Years later, Morgan invented the smoke hood (a fireman’s mask) and traffic signal light between the early 1900s.
  • Biography of Garrett Morgan Sr.

Black Wall Street of America

  • Black Wall Street was fully developed on May 31st, 1921, located in Greenwood District, Tulsa, Oklahoma. 
  • This historical place had the significance of establishing African Americans within their communities.
  • Black owned businesses created economic growth amongst the African American communities.
  • Race riots brought it to an end on June 1,1921.
  • Documentary of Black Wall Street

Interesting Books and  Movies by African Americans

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

  • This books talks about the life behind human right activist Malcom X.
  • Throughout the book, readers are given life lessons , which can be used today.
  • Topics dealing with self esteem & unity
  • Authors:  Malcom X and Alex Haley 

The Great Debaters Film (2007)

  • Directed by Denzel Washington

Higher Learning

  • Directed by John Singleton 
  • Dealing with incoming college students from different backgrounds, who face challenges amongst each other.

The New Jim Crow

  • Deals with the mass incarcerations amongst African American and other minorities across America.
  • Focus on the true meaning of behind the word “justice” in America.
  • Author: Michelle Alexander

Eastern Michigan University’s campus event schedule for Black History Month

“The Intersection”

Sunday, February 9, 2020. EMU Student Center.

“North Star”

Friday, February 7th, 2020. 2:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. at Quirk-Sponberg Theatre.

For more information on events, please visit Eastern Michigan University’s Event Calendar.

About the Writer

Hello! My name is Bianca Ramsey and I am currently a junior at EMU. I am pursuing a BA in Media Studies & Journalism while being a reporter and writer for the Eastern Echo.