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Black History


Black History Month

by Anna on February 22, 2017

in Extracurricular

Hello, everyone!  Today I’m going to be writing about Black History Month, which is happening right now in the month of February.  What do you know about it?  It’s certainly a month to recognize and remember the important roles so many black men and women have played in the past 240 years (and beyond) of our country’s history.  Books, articles, and films highlight many of these individuals.  And of course, there are historic figures like Martin Luther King Jr., or Frederick Douglass, or Harriet Tubman, who are some of the most well-known and most-talked-about.  But I think we all know there were far more “unsung heroes” who existed and don’t get the recognition they deserve.  I’d like to share two that I’ve learned and would enjoy learning more about when my time permits!

  1. Tom Bass:  He was a native Missourian, born into slavery in Boone County on January 5, 1859.  After the Civil War ended and being raised by his grandparents, he entered the horse training world at the young age of 20.  His accomplishments are many, perhaps most notably training horses (Saddlebreds, a gaited breed, were his specialty) for Buffalo Bill Cody, Theodore Roosevelt, and Will Rogers.  He developed a more-controlling yet also gentler on the horse’s mouth bit, aptly named the Tom Bass bit, that is still used today.  He died at the age of 75 and was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians in 1999.  A good book that I have skimmed through and would love to fully read (again, when I eventually have a spare moment…maybe when I’m 80?!) that talks a lot about his life and work is Tom Bass: Black Horseman by Bill Downey.
  2. Harriet Jacobs:  I’m a huge Mercy Street (PBS TV show) fan and am really enjoying seeing how Season 2 is unfolding.  This season has focused a lot more on the contrabands/free blacks, what their plight was specifically in Alexandria, Virginia (where the show is set), and the people who helped them establish a life free from the chains of slavery.  They’ve introduced a character named Charlotte Jenkins, who is based on real-life abolitionist Harriet Jacobs.  There is an excellent article here ( that explains the historical significance of Jacobs and all that she (and many, many others) unfairly endured, yet ultimately overcame.  Jacobs eventually became an advocate for the “refugees from slavery” by educating them, securing food and health care, and recording her experiences so they are preserved for us to read about.  On a side note, the Mercy Street blog also has a lot of other good articles detailing the historical accuracy of the show — from the development of nursing to female soldiers and beyond — and I highly recommend checking them out!

There are certainly many more I would love to share with you, but my tight time forces me to conclude.  I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about two of my favorite African-American historical figures, and I look forward to who my fellow bloggers choose to write about for Black History Month!



Hey Fonties! Hope you had a fabulous week. I can’t believe I’m almost a college senior! Time really does fly when you’re having fun. It seems like just yesterday, I was being fitted for a cap and gown for high school graduation. When I think about my transition from high school to college, I remember crying a lot (a lot….). I was at my highest point of stress that year. Anyway, after 12 amazing years in the district of University City, it was time to go and start over. The transition to Fontbonne was a lot more stressful than graduating from high school. Why, you ask? Because it was a completely new experience for me. I knew nothing and no one. I didn’t think I was going make it to my junior year at Fontbonne, but I’m here…. To the incoming freshmen, I have one major piece of advice: cherish your time with your friends while you can, because eventually all of you will go your separate ways, and then you will just have the memories.  Anyone who knows me well on campus, knows I love my lions. The amazing experience I had at U. City made the transition to a brand new place that much easier.  I can’t thank my U. City family enough for giving me the best 12 years of my life; I will be forever grateful.  Now all my Fontbonne friends know why I wear black and gold with pride and dignity — it’s only right!


P.S.  What time is it?…. U Time!!! Just passing on a little U. City spirit 🙂


Black History Fact of the Week: Malcolm X remains one of the most influential and complex figures of the modern era. His lasting legacy as a symbol of Black pride, intellect and bravado has sustained over the decades since his death. This Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of the great leader’s assassination, which silenced a voice that could have continued to be part of powerful change.



Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.