2023 Black History Month Challenge!


Echo Staff

Black History is American History. 

And the American Present. 

And the American Future. 

Yet, if you ask people what comes to mind when they hear the words “Black History Month,” many will respond by naming figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks, or events such as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. And while it’s crucial to learn about the accomplishments of people like Dr. King, it is just as important to expand our understanding of the origins of Black history. As a recent article in edutopia.com points out, “It’s paramount that we use Black History Month to remind us all that the origins of Black American society did not start with colonization. Just as U.S. history books recognize America’s ties to Great Britain, African American history is anchored in traditions of great and powerful nations that long predate the transatlantic slave trade.”

For example, did you know that the Great Wall of Benin (in modern-day Nigeria) was thought to be FOUR TIMES longer than the Great Wall of China? Have you ever heard of Ge’ez, a living language developed in the kingdom of Aksum (near northern Ethiopia) which is one of the great literary languages of the ancient world? Are you aware of the Black inventors who influenced the way we refrigerate food, ride trains, use elevators, and even treat blindness?

In honor of 2023’s Black History Month, the Amityville Echo would like to challenge you to complete the following tasks.

  • Name five Black history figures unrelated to the Civil Rights Movement.
  • Name at least one Black community tradition.
  • Name at least one Black historical music pioneer or genre. 
  • Name one pop culture trend from the Black community that has gone mainstream (e.g., high-fiving– yes, high-fiving– Google it!)
  • Name at least one Black millionaire. 
  • As a bonus, make a list of at least 10 modern Black firsts.

Let us know what you come up with!