Mr. Russell’s Classroom: Black History Lessons You May Not Have Known

As QC Morning continues to celebrate Black History Month, Little Unknown Black History facts were the subject in Mr. Russell’s Classroom Wednesday. The name that was mentioned was Onesimus.  He was the enslaved African man who introduced the principle and procedure of inoculation to America.  This came at a time when smallpox was a big health problem in Boston. Onesimus told his slave master – Cotton Mather – about the procedure they did in Africa that helped save lives.  It was called inoculation – a procedure in Africa that would infect healthy Africans with smallpox.  The substance from the sick would be injected into the non-infected African.  This process is believed to have controlled severe symptoms in the healthy person meaning potentially saving lives. This laid the foundation for the development of vaccines.  We wanted to introduce Onesimus since many people are getting the COVID vaccine.  It is important to know that name during this health crisis the world is experiencing and remember how an African made a difference in the 1700s and how that knowledge is making a difference in 2021.

 

Another little unknown fact was about a 15-year-old girl by the name of Claudette Colvin. Nine months before Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat to a white person on a bus, Colvin did the exact same thing.  The teenager was arrested and spent a brief time in jail and was part of a lawsuit against the State of Alabama. Her case ruled segregation laws of Alabama were unconstitutional. There were a number of woman who refused to give up their seat on the same bus system used by Colvin and Parks.  The women were simply fined and went on about their business. Colvin challenged that system. She says she remembers going to jail and when the jail door shut – she cried and said the Lord’s Prayer.

 

There are many little unknown Black History facts out there.  Your assignment for the day is to find two or three of them and let me know what you found.

 

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