Do You Know Your Black History?

We'll bet you didn't know these "Amazing Facts" about people of African descent.

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    Juan Garrido (left) (Diego Duran, Historia de las Indias de Nueve Espana e Islas de la Tierra Firme, 1581)

    Editor’s note: For those who are wondering about the retro title of this black history series, please take a moment to learn about historian Joel A. Rogers, author of the 1934 book 100 Amazing Facts About the Negro With Complete Proof, to whom these “amazing facts” are an homage.

    Who was the first African American? Answer.

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    Vicente Guerrero (1850. Oil on canvas, by Anacleto Escutia. Museo Nacional de Historia, Castillo de Chapultepec, Mexico)

    Who was North America’s first black president? Answer.

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    Antonio Manuel, by Francesco Caporale, 1629. RomeSanta Maria Maggiore, Baptistery (The Image of the Black, Vol. 3, pt. 1)

    Who was Africa’s first ambassador to Europe? Answer.

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    "Estavanico," by Jose Cisneros, published in Cleve Hallenbeck's The Journey of Fray Marcos de Niza (1973)

    Who was the first black to explore the West? Answer.

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    How many slaves landed in the U.S.? Find out.

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    Job ben Solomon, 1733, by William Hoare. Oil on canvas.30 x 25 in. Qatar Museums Authority/Orientalist Museum, Doha, Qatar

    Which slave wrote his way out of slavery? Answer.

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    Gaspar Yanga's statue in the town named after him(Erasmo Vasquez Lendechy)

    What was North America’s first black town? Answer.

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    George Washington and his servant Billy Lee. Artist: John Trumbull. 1780. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    What happened to George Washington’s runaway slave Harry? Answer.

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    Captain Paul Cuffee (1759-1817) (New England Historic Genealogical Society Collections)

    Who led the first back-to-Africa effort? Answer.

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    Matthias Grunewald (artist). St. Erasmus and St. Maurice. From Halle, Collegiate church. Ca. 1520-24. Painting on wood

    Who was the first black saint? Answer.

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    Fort Mose map: The Jefferys map of 1762 showed what Fort Mose (labeled “Negroe Fort”) looked like in 1740. (

    What was America’s first black town? Answer.

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    Adoration of the Magi, artist Nicolas Poussin, 1633

    Who was the first black man to see the baby Jesus? Answer.

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    Ulysses L. Houston, in lithograph (He Was a Friend to All, W.&M., Savannah, Ga., 1890)

    What’s the truth behind “40 acres and a mule”? Answer.

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    Fugitive Slave Attacked by Dogs, 19th century(; original source unidentified)

    Did dogs really eat slaves, like in Django? Answer.

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    PBC History Online

    Where was the first Underground Railroad? Answer.

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    Slaves work a cotton gin, drawn by William L. Sheppard, 1869 (Library of Congress)

    What was the second Middle Passage? Answer.

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    J.A. Rogers (public domain)

    Meet Joel Augustus Rogers

    Read more about the man who inspired the “100 Amazing Facts About the Negro” series, and then tell us what you’d like to know about black history, using the comment area below.

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