What Are Some Little-Known Black History Facts?

Some little known facts about Black History are that Rosa Parks was not the first black woman to refuse to move to the back of a bus and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not prepared. Also, only a relatively small number of African slaves were brought to the United States.

Officials in Montgomery, Alabama arrested Claudette Colvin, a 15-year old black student, for refusing to abide by bus segregation laws in March 1955. She later joined four other women as plaintiffs in the case Browder v. Gayle, which successfully ended bus segregation in Alabama. NAACP officials feared Colvin's status as an unwed mother would hurt efforts to draw widespread support, and selected Rosa Parks, a secretary for the organization, as the face of the fight to end segregation.

Martin Luther King Jr. had a prepared speech for the 1963 March on Washington, but it failed to elicit enthusiasm from the crowd. At the urging of Mahalia Jackson, King abandoned his notes and began an extemporaneous discussion of his vision for an integrated society that he had described at numerous past events. The speech that many consider King's finest is actually an amalgamation of previous speeches and borrows considerable material from the Bible, Shakespeare and addresses delivered by other black leaders of his time.

The Portuguese and Spanish brought the first Africans to the New World, long before the first English settlements. Slavery was already widespread amongst the natives in South America and Africa and most owners purchased slaves from Muslim and African traders. Of the estimated 12.5 million slaves imported to this hemisphere, only 388,000 came to the United States. Over 40 percent, or 4.9 million, were sent to Brazil, which did not ban slavery until 1888.