Project Category: American Champions

Arts & Entertainment

African Americans had always made valuable artistic contributions to American culture. However, due to the brutalities of slavery and the systemic racism of Jim Crow, these contributions often went unrecognized. Despite continued oppression, African American artists continued to create literature and art that would reflect their experiences. A high-point for these artists was the Harlem Renaissance—a literary era which spotlighted black people.

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Every day in a year Black Americans have made some kind of impact to our American lives. American Champions 365 honors the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. Did you know that Madam C.J. Walker was America’s first woman to become a self-made millionaire, or that George Washington Carver was able to derive nearly 300 products from the peanut? There are many unsung heroes and who have helped make his Nation Great.

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African-Americans have faced many obstacles over the course of history, but this hasn’t stopped bright, innovative individuals from developing inventions that have changed the world. I take you on a deeper dive into the American Champion Inventors that you may not have known their contribution to America. From the traffic light to the blood bank, research more about these American Champions who were African-American inventors.

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As during the American Revolution, black sailors and soldiers saw the second war with Britain as a means to advance their own agenda. For free blacks, the War of 1812 provided the chance to broker their participation in ways that enhanced their individual and collective status within society. Yet for free blacks, the war did not advance their march toward equality but rather initiated a new era of prejudice and racial discrimination. For enslaved peoples, serving as participants could provide an avenue to freedom, but it did not happen as often as expected.

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In general, blacks are overrepresented in professional sports. Many white Americans will, again, imagine that this has something to do with black genes, black athleticism, and black African musculature. But this illusion that only justifies white dominance in, say, the tech sector. Whites have the genes for that kind of thing: coding, programming, electrical engineering, and what have you. In this view, black dominance in brawn is naturally balanced by white dominance in brains. But anyone who has taught in a US high-school system knows that this balance is strictly imposed on black males. Intellectuality is not just discouraged but not even recognized. When you reinforce this attitude by underfunding education, the remaining opportunities for black success are not found in the classroom but in the gym. Many white commentaries, scouts, owners and fans of these sports, realize the generational pull to dominate every game in every spot is not impossible.

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Many Black babies finds refuge in black studies classes, where they learn about theories such as “critical race theory” and terms such as “institutional racism,” “white privilege” and “hegemony.” Exposure to these classes provides young Black American champions with the vocabulary and critical analytical tools to better understand the challenges facing black people today.

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Civil Rights/Activism

The civil rights movement is one of the defining events in American history, during which Americans fought to make real the ideals of justice and equality embedded in our founding documents. When students learn about the movement, they learn what it means to be active American citizens. They learn how to recognize injustice. They learn about the transformative role played by thousands of ordinary individuals, as well as the importance of organization for collective change. They see that people can come together to stand against oppression.

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Data from the past 50 years reveal the upward yet uneven trajectory of black political leadership in America. In 1965, there were no blacks in the U.S. Senate, nor were there any black governors. And only six members of the House of Representatives were black. As of 2019, there is greater representation in some areas – 52 House members are black, putting the share of black House members (12%) on par with the share of blacks in the U.S. population overall for the first time in history. But in other areas, there has been little change (there are three black senators and no black governors). Many blacks don’t understand civics and how local politics can impact your lives more than federal elections.

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