10 Black Heroes Your Children May Not Know About
Share the stories of these astronauts, inventors, and athletes with your children. Their contributions include Arctic exploration, being the first African American woman in congress, and ending bus segregation.
- Written By
- Marnie Schwartz
Rebecca Lee Crumpler
George Coleman Poage
The star runner from Wisconsin was the first African American on the University of Wisconsin varsity track team. He was the first Black athlete to win a race in the Big Ten track championships. And in 1904, he became the first African American to win an Olympic medal. (He earned two, both bronze.) After his short but successful running career, Poage, who had been an excellent student, became a high school principal, and then worked as a teacher, and later, a U.S. Postal Service clerk. His accomplishments went largely uncelebrated until 50+ years after his history-making races.
Gibson was considered the best power hitter of his era, in both the Negro and Major leagues. While records are incomplete, experts consider him baseball’s greatest home run hitter. Gibson played in the Negro Leagues in the two decades leading up to integration. Sadly, in 1947 at the age of 35, he died of a stroke related to a brain tumor, just three months before Jackie Robinson played in the Major Leagues for the first time for the Brooklyn Dodgers, beginning the integration of the sport.