1. Phillis Wheatley was only 12 when she became the first female African American author published.
2. MLK improvised the most iconic part of his “I Have a Dream” speech.
3. Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Oscar, wasn’t allowed to attend Gone With the Wind's national premiere.
4. Josephine Baker was a spy for the French during WWII.
5. The ban on interracial marriage in the U.S. was overturned because of one couple in 1967.
6. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on Maya Angelou’s 40th birthday.
7. Nine months before Rosa Parks, there was a young woman named Claudette Colvin.
8. Anna Murray was the first African-American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest.
9. Matthew Henson was a key member of the first successful expedition to the North Pole and made seven separate voyages to the Arctic.
10. Madam C.J. Walker was an African American entrepreneur who became America's first female self-made millionaire.
11. Billie Holiday’s famous “Strange Fruit” was originally a poem written by a school teacher.
12. Octavia E. Butler was dyslexic.
13. Benjamin Banneker taught himself astronomy and math to become America's "First Known African American Man of Science".
14. During her run for president, three separate assassination attempts were made on Shirley Chisholm.
15. Dr. Mayme Clayton founded the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in 1975.
16. The 6888th Battalion was an all-black, all-female unit of the military that delivered mail to World War II troops across England.
17. Allensworth, California was an all-black township—and the first of its kind.
18. The charity single "We Are the World" owes its creation and success to black artists.
19. John Baxter Taylor was the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal.