February is Black History Month, and time to celebrate the achievements of black men and women who've made a difference. 

Did you know

BUTTON Sojourner Truth fought for the desegregation of public transportation in Washington, DC, during the Civil War? She refused to face the indignities of Jim Crow segregation (Jim Crow laws forced racial separation in schools, parks, playgrounds, restaurants, hotels, public transportation, theaters, restrooms, and so forth) on streetcars and had the Jim Crow car removed from the Washington, DC, system. Sojourner Truth brought a local street to a standstill after a driver refused to let her on board. With the support of the crowd she forced the driver to allow her to ride the streetcar.

BUTTON Mary Church Terrell worked as a writer, lecturer, and educator, but is best remembered for her contribution to the struggle for the rights of black women? Both her parents had been slaves, but through hard work they became one of the wealthiest families in Memphis, Tennessee. Her entire life was one of privilege, but the wealth of her family did not prevent her from experiencing segregation and the humiliation of discrimination.

BUTTON Rosa Parks is often called the mother of modern civil rights? Born on February 4, 1913, Rosa Lee Parks is a black woman who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. This incident, which happened in 1955, helped bring about the civil rights movement in the United States. 

BUTTON After Serena Williams won the U.S. Open tennis tournament on September 11, 1999, she became the first African American woman to claim a Grand Slam singles title since Althea Gibson in 1958? Ranked 6th in the world among female tennis professionals by 1999, Serena, along with her older sister Venus, had become one of the sport's most exciting and closely watched young players. As an African American in a historically white- and European-dominated sport, she has definitely found herself in the spotlight. Click here for more information about Serena.

Try a bit of black women in history trivia!

Stomp-Out Stereotypes!

A lack of understanding about each other's differences can lead to suspicion, fear, and possibly violence. Here are a few tips on how you can help make a difference:

BUTTON Remember that being born into a particular race or ethnicity does not make someone automatically good or bad at math, science, dancing, or anything else.

BUTTON Understand that stereotyping means judging a person according to their race, ethnicity, religion, age, or gender. Any kind of stereotyping is hurtful because it denies individual differences and promotes discrimination.

BUTTON For more information about African American culture, visit the

Copyright 2001-, Terry Muse
Revised: December 29, 2001
Contact: Terry Muse