LifestyleBlack History Month


Remembering those hidden figures in US Black history

Posted at 10:04 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 13:12:13-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — History books typically outline some of the same stories when speaking about Black history.

Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are all well known but there are others.

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Harriet Jacobs, Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer are three unsung heroes that helped inspire generations.

Jacobs was born a slave in 1813.

While there have been narratives written before by slaves, Jacobs offered the perspective of a woman.

In her book, incidents in the "Life of a Slave Girl" she writes about trauma and the fight for freedom for her and her family.

The book was one of the first public discussions about the sexual abuse endured by slave women.

Jacobs escapes slavery by hiding in a crawl-like space, no bigger than 9 feet, 7 feet wide.

By 1842, she sailed north where she reunites with her children.

It is there she documents her role in the abolition movement and exposes racism in the North.

Ella J. Baker was a lesser-known Civil Rights figure whose work spearheaded the movement of the 1960s.

Many argue Baker was the driving force behind leaders like Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Baker's work began with the NAACP in 1940 where she worked as a field secretary.

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In 1957, Baker moved to Atlanta to help King with a new organization where she helped run a voter registration campaign.

Eventually, her work with King ended and Baker then shifted her focus to leading student activists.

Fannie Lou Hamer was a Civil Rights crusader of her time.

Hamer took the pain of the Jim Crow era and focused her efforts on voting rights for African-Americans in the South.

In 1963, Hamer and a group of people were refused service at a cafe.

They were arrested and thrown in jail and beaten by police for several days.

Hamer suffered lasting scars and physical issues.

Despite every obstacle, nothing threw her off her mission.

Hamer spent the rest of her life fighting for Black political rights and helping to register voters.

While the 21st century may have forgotten these unsung heroes, it is the new generation that must shed light on their contributions.