It is not a surprise that African-Americans do not get the recognition that they deserve in history. Many inventions that we use, classic songs that we sing, movies that we find fascinating, could not have been made without African Americans. Here is a list of people that are under-discussed in African-American History. The list was compiled from followers who answered my question of the week, along with a few additions that I added.
1. William Still
Submitted by Austin, Owner of Jenkins Digital Solutions | Facebook
I think William Still is an underrated historical figure due to the fact he was one of the few African Americans of his time that thought on generational wealth and entrepreneurship. From Real Estate, to selling stoves, to even having his own successful Coal Business. It’s amazing the time period that he lived in, and he was STILL able to overcome such adversity and odds, all the while being honest, having integrity, and following his heart and soul!
William Still was a slave in New Jersey. He saved up the little bit of money he made and purchased his freedom. Still also aided many slaves to freedom and kept record of everyone he helped. He is also the author of the book The Underground Railroad, which is considered one of, if not the, most important historical accounts that we have on slavery.
2. Claud Anderson
Being the author of some of the most prominent books on empowering black people, helping people understand our history, the importance of starting black businesses, wealth building, politics, economics, etc., besides radio and YouTube interviews, I don’t see him getting the mainstream attention he deserves
Dr. Claud Anderson is the author of books such as Powernomics, Black Labor White Wealth, and A Black History Reader. He uses his platform to promote the truth about black history that is not often discussed and to promote strategies for black wealth.
3. Audrey Smaltz
Submitted by FranCine via Facebook
Audrey Smaltz is considered a legendary fashion guru. She has given advice to many of the top designers and top models that society idolizes. She has assisted Donna Karan and Oscar de la Renta, just to begin to paint a picture.
Personally, I can recognize her status in her fashion industry and her contribution to the black community, but she is not a person that I am extremely fond of. She has made some comments about people who are overweight and suggested that they do not wear certain articles of clothing. Though I understand that the fashion industry has a particular look that they go for, I think that this is not advice that should be given to lay people. I think that models need to remember that there are people who starve themselves or do cruel things to their bodies in attempts to look like them. Suggesting that people stay away from certain clothing for their size is triggering and dangerous.
4. LaVar Burton
Submitted by Christina via Instagram
Reading rainbow, star trek, roots…ect. He taught me so much about books. He was one of the first men I loved before I even knew what love was. Important for me and my upbringing, he was also one of the first black people I ever “met”. [I will Love] him forever.
LaVar Burton is an actor director, presenter, and author. As the quote above mentioned he is known for his role as the host and executive director on Reading Rainbow. He is also known for his role as the young Kunta Kinte in Roots. In his role as a director he is most respected for his work on Star Trek. His roles were respected for reasons beyond his acting and presenting ability. His roles were admired for the history that they highlighted and the emotions that he was able to invoke in his audience.
5. Lewis Howard Latimer
Though Thomas Edison is credited as the inventor of the lightbulb, the person who helped him does not get the credit deserved. The original lightbulb invented by Thomas Edison could only burn for minutes. Lewis Latimer invented the filament that allowed the lightbulb to burn for hours and made it more affordable. He also drafted the drawings that were used to patent the first telephone.
6. 50 Cent
50 Cent grew up with a troubling back story. His mother was murdered when he was 8 years old, he never knew his father and he was raised by his grandmother. He sold crack, and with his ingenious business skills made $5000 per day. Despite all of this, he started rapping as a way to make legitimate money. Beyond rapping, he has taken the entrepreneur skills he learned in the street and created multiple businesses. He owns his own vitamin water, record label, and clothing line. He has ghostwritten books, one selling over $2 million dollars in profits. He has written a self-help book on building self-confidence. In addition, he has written and produced movies and television series. His show Power was ranked second as the most popular show on television losing the number 1 spot to game of thrones. He is also the first solo artist to have three singles in the Billboard’s top 5 in the same week. Though he is cocky, he has every right to be
7. Simone Biles
Simone Biles is an Olympic gymnast. Was the 2016 Olympic individual all-around. The routines she performed in 2018 were said to be the most difficult in women’s gymnastics history, yet she executed them wonderfully. She was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, a famous sports physician. She eventually spoke out against him and designed a leotard that was meant to honor the survivors and raise awareness about sexual assault. She wore this at the 2018 U.S. National Championship. She is also the first American to win medals at every event in the World’s Gymnastic Championship. She is also the first women to complete this task in 30 years.