Black History in Two Minutes

By Be Woke Presents...

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 Jun 17, 2020
five stars is not enough!


Brief and concise historical episodes of the African-American experience. Narrated by renowned historian, Henry Louis Gates Jr. and executive produced by Robert F. Smith.

Episode Date
Marcus Garvey: Leader of a Revolutionary Global Movement
Marcus Garvey was born in Jamaica and experienced the impacts of colonization at the hands of the British. As a result, he developed a passion for improving race relations and launched a Black Nationalism movement that would seek to elevate black people throughout the world.
Oct 23, 2020
Protesting the Birth of a Nation
In 1915, D.W. Griffith, released a film that would go down as one of the most disturbing representations of black Americans ever, The Birth of a Nation. Released post-Civil War and Reconstruction Era, the film played on stereotypes abroad.
Oct 16, 2020
The Beginning of Black History: Juan Garrido
In the early 1500s, a West African man named Juan Garrido joined the ranks of Spanish explorers who ventured out in hopes of discovering new parts of the world. With their sights set on locating the fountain of youth, Garrido and other travelers landed in what we now call Florida in 1513.
Oct 09, 2020
Jackie Robinson Integrates Baseball
On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson tore down the color barrier and became the first black baseball player to play in the Major League arena. His talent, education, and ability to withstand racial issues that were sure to come, made him the ideal candidate.
Oct 02, 2020
Soul Train
Taking cues from American Bandstand, Soul Train became a black cultural phenomena. Created and hosted by Don Cornelius, a Chicago radio reporter and DJ, the show was launched in 1970, but only in Chicago. However, the program became an overnight success story as it quickly swept the nation.
Sep 25, 2020
Hank Aaron: Breaking the Home Run Record
Be Woke Presents Black History in Two Minutes (or so) Born Henry Louis Aaron, baseball legend Hank Aaron swung his […]
Sep 18, 2020
Civil War and Emancipation
In 1861, the south’s threats of seceding the union led to the start of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln’s primary goal was to minimize secession talks. But, as black slaves who were forced to fight for the confederacy escaped to union territory, a shift occurred that worked in the favor of the president.
Sep 11, 2020
Fort Mose: The First All-Black Settlement in the U.S.
In this episode of Black History In Two Minutes or So hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr., with additional commentary from Hasan Jeffries of Ohio State University, we will take a look at the slaves who risked it all on a quest to attain the freedom they deserved.
Sep 04, 2020
Land: Giving Rise to the Famous Phrase 40 Acres & a Mule
The phrase “40 acres and a mule” — a promise to former slaves — would be hatched from this meeting. Unfortunately, President Andrew Johnson would renege on this promise and many families never saw this promise come to fruition. While land ownership would have been a step in the right direction, negotiations robbed black families of an opportunity to invest in an economic future with.
Jun 19, 2020
The Red Summer
The events unfolding across the United States today in the wake of the brutal murder of George Floyd, are an eerie repetition of events that marred the history of race relations in this country almost exactly a century ago.
Jun 18, 2020
Lynching was an action used to terrorize the black community for generations, with the first known public display of this injustice taking place in Madison, Mississippi in 1835.
Jun 12, 2020
John Lewis: The Fight for the Right to Vote
In 1963, John Lewis’ excitement would meet his life’s purpose when he joined the Civil Rights Movement. He is now known as one of the greatest activists and change fighters to enter the arena of social and racial justice reform.
Jun 05, 2020
The Black Press: From Freedom’s Journal to The Crisis, Ebony & Jet
White publications have sought to represent all voices in America since it’s discovery. But, in 1827, Samuel Cornish and John Russwurm joined forces and created the Freedom’s Journal. This publication created a space for black journalists to speak on issues relevant to black people.
May 29, 2020
First African American Patent Holders
Black inventors have made significant contributions in the name of not only advancing the American brand, but by way of breaking down a system that didn’t always allow for their innovative brands to exist.
May 22, 2020
Black History in Two Minutes (or So) 2x Webby Award Winners: Voted People Voice Best Podcast Documentary Series
Black History in Two Minutes (or so) has been officially a TWO TIMES 2020 Webby Award winner. Voted by People's Voice as Best in the Podcast: Documentary Category. Honoring The Best Of The Internet Since 1997.
May 21, 2020
Robert F. Smith Delivers 5 Word '2020 Webby Awards' Acceptance Speech
Black History in Two Minutes (or so) named a 2020 Webby Award winner in the Social: Education & Discovery (Video) Category. Watch Robert F. Smith delivers 5 word speech.
May 20, 2020
Jack Johnson: Winner of the 1910's " Fight of the Century"
Jack Johnson entered the world ready to fight in the most non-conventional way. As the son of slaves, he worked many unskilled jobs, before transitioning into his career as a boxer. He would later transcend the sport and shake up society in a way people had never seen a black man do before.
May 15, 2020
Black Explorers
While history celebrates the explorations of many white voyagers, there are multiple black people who successfully explored sea, land, and space, and in many instances, are often overlooked.
May 08, 2020
Dr. Henry Louis Gates Calling For Webby Awards Voters!
Be Woke Presents: Black History in Two Minutes (or so) — has been recognized with TWO nominations in the 24th Annual Webby Awards. We have been nominated in the Podcast: Documentary and the Social: Education & Discovery categories.
May 07, 2020
Be Woke Presents: Black History in Two Minutes (or so) — has been recognized with TWO nominations in the 24th Annual Webby Awards. We have been nominated in the Podcast: Documentary and the Social: Education & Discovery categories.
May 06, 2020
19th Century Black Discoveries
Black innovators and creators have a long history of studying the framework and exploring new ways of advancing modern technology. Take Lewis Latimer and Sarah Boone, for example. They are two inventors who mastered their craft and elevated their industry.
May 01, 2020
The Black Church
Religion as we know it infiltrated the black community during slavery. While the objective leaned on pacifying slaves, black people rose against the negative narrative and invested in a community that would be known as the black church.
Apr 24, 2020
African American Higher Education
Opportunities for freed black children to further their educational journey after high school were limited. As a direct response to minimal options, black people began to seek multiple opportunities on their own in the name of higher education.
Apr 17, 2020
Abolition in the North | Elizabeth Freeman Sues for Freedom
Many people recognize the passage of the 13th Amendment as an end to slavery in the south. However, slavery was commonplace in all 13 colonies. Mum Bett, the slave of a Massachusetts judge, learned about the 1780 Massachusetts Constitution.
Apr 10, 2020
Frederick Douglass | The Most Photographed American of the 19th Century
Born into slavery as Frederick Douglass in 1818, this renowned lecturer and author would become one of the greatest public speakers of his time. After escaping slavery in 1838, Douglass joined the abolitionist movement. As a paid traveling lecturer, people everywhere laid their eyes on a freed, well-spoken black man.
Apr 03, 2020
Katherine Johnson
Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Katherine Johnson is a powerhouse unlike any other. Entering college at the tender age of 15, Johnson’s advanced mathematical skill-set forced her environment to make room for her.
Mar 27, 2020
Henrietta Lacks: The Woman with the Immortal Cells
In February 1951, a young African-American woman by the name of Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cervical cancer. Unbeknownst to her, cells from her specific cancer were extracted and sent to a lab to be studied.
Mar 20, 2020
Ella Baker - 'The Mother of the Civil Rights Movement'
After graduating from Shaw University, Ella Baker moved to New York City and began her career as a grassroots organizer. Joining the NAACP in 1940, the Virginia native assisted in developing some of the brightest minds in the Civil Rights Movement.
Mar 13, 2020
Black Feminism
Black women and their commitment to freedom and equality has often been minimized in history books. However, with black women standing at the front of each decade, the intersectionality of gender, sexual orientation, and class has become a point of grave importance. Working through the Civil Rights era and beyond, black women were instrumental in increasing awareness on a diverse pool of relevant issues.
Mar 06, 2020
The Harlem Hellfighters of World War I
After years of requesting an all-black unit in the National Guard, the governor of New York finally put the order into place. In January 1918, the all-black 369th Infantry Regiment, which would later become known as the Harlem Hellfighters, landed in France to fight in World War I.
Feb 28, 2020
Black Power
In 1965, one of the last traceable remnants of Jim Crow ideology were thought to be taken off the books with the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Despite the implementation of the legislation, racial tension remained. Less than a week into the new law, riots broke out in the predominately black neighborhood of Watts after an altercation between a black man and the police.
Feb 21, 2020
The Civil Rights Movement
The civil rights movement was an organized effort where African-Americans united and rallied to put black progressiveness at the forefront of a nation that sought to minimize and revoke rights.
Feb 14, 2020
The Tuskegee Study
In 1932 the United States Public Health Service commissioned a study on the effects of untreated syphilis. 600 poor black men from Alabama were selected to be a part of the study and were told that they were being reviewed for “bad blood.” From there, the Tuskegee Study took a turn for the worst.
Feb 07, 2020
The Harlem Renaissance
With a Jim Crow south alive and well, many black Americans migrated north. This migration resulted in the formation of a creative urban hub in Harlem, New York, and the Harlem Renaissance became a time where black Americans flourished creatively.
Jan 31, 2020
Affirmative Action
President Lyndon B. Johnson made it clear that a shift was greatly needed in America. No longer could we preach about a land of opportunity, when minorities didn’t have the same foundation or access to educational institutions. Thus, Affirmative Action was introduced by President Johnson at Howard University in 1965.
Jan 24, 2020
The Birth of Jazz
Born in the heart of New Orleans, Louisiana, jazz made its way onto the scene. With African-Americans at the helm, the red-light district housed this new genre of music and talented artists during what is now known as a monumental moment in American history.
Jan 17, 2020
The Double V Campaign of World War II
The Double V Campaign was launched by a prominent black newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier, in 1942. The campaign came in response to buzz generated from a letter written by a young black man, James G. Thompson. His article, entitled, “Should I Sacrifice to Live ‘Half-American”, broke barriers and started a conversation nationally that many blacks had been having for generations.
Jan 10, 2020
Jesse Jackson's Run for the Presidency (1984)
In 1983, Reverend Jesse Jackson launched his bid for president of the United States. This announcement sparked excitement from people who had grown to adore the Civil Rights leader. While he wasn’t the first African-American candidate, his presence and decision to run was monumental.
Dec 20, 2019
The Birth of the Black Panthers
Electrified by the rhetoric of Malcolm X, founding members Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale created an organization aimed at protecting the Black community from racism and violence. And thus, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was founded in Oakland, Calif., in October of 1966.
Dec 13, 2019
The L.A. Riots
Despite footage of police officers beating the late Rodney King in 1991, justice, for many in South Central Los Angeles, was not served. The acquittal of four white Los Angeles Police Department officers would be the catalyst of the the Los Angeles Riots of 1992.
Dec 06, 2019
Martin Luther King Jr. - Was his 'I Have a Dream' speech Improvised?
While Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s influence was large, perhaps his greatest legacy came when he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on August 28, 1963.
Nov 28, 2019
Malcolm X - How Did He Inspire a Movement?
After joining the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X became known as a human rights activist whose teachings led the charge of black progression during the latter parts of the 1960s.
Nov 22, 2019
Booker T. Washington
In 1872, Booker T. Washington traveled 500 miles on foot to the Hampton Institute in Virginia. That journey, in turn, laid the foundation — not only for his own education — but his life’s mission to empower and compel black people to invest in industrial education.
Nov 15, 2019
Shirley Chisholm - The First Black Congresswoman
Shirley Chisholm is a political icon who paved the way for politics as we know it today. As an active participant for women’s rights and the Civil Rights Movement, her presence and experience would prepare her for a stage unseen by black women before.
Nov 08, 2019
Robert Smalls: A Slave Who Sailed Himself to Freedom....
Robert Smalls was born into slavery and pushed into fighting for the Confederacy during the Civil War. However, at the age of 23, he took a chance to not only free him and his family, but those who vowed to step up and fight against the Confederacy alongside him.
Nov 01, 2019
Freedman's Bank
In 1865, after the north won the Civil War, the government opened the Freedman’s Bank. This institution was geared towards nearly four million, newly freed black people. The objective was clear: provide a federally protected place for black workers to place their funds.
Oct 25, 2019
Sojourner Truth: 'Oprah's No. 1 Black History Heroine'
Isabella Baumfree was born into slavery in the late 18th century. Despite this, she’d go on to prove that enslavement was only a state of mind. She escaped slavery and landed in New York, where she changed her name to Sojourner Truth.
Oct 18, 2019
Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman is one of the greatest freedom fighters to exist. Enslaved and enraged, Tubman committed to not only freeing herself, but she created a system that would revolutionize slavery and the people who benefited from it most.
Oct 11, 2019
Ida B. Wells: Fearless Investigative Reporter of Southern Horrors
Born into slavery as Ida B. Wells in 1862, she was a pioneer of modern investigative journalism during the Reconstruction Era. Wells called attention to the horrific treatment of black people through her investigative report, entitled Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases.
Oct 04, 2019
The Tulsa Race Riots | Black Wall Street
Fresh off an oil-boom, the black residents of Greenwood, Okla. built a booming community known as The Negro Wall Street. But in May of 1921, that all changed. Word spread that a lynch mob of white people were heading to a courthouse to kill a black man accused of accosting a white woman in an elevator.
Sep 27, 2019
The Fisk Jubilee Singers: Perform the Spirituals and Save Their University
Fisk University was founded in Nashville, Tenn. in 1866. As an institution for African-American students, their first years of inception were pivotal. In 1871, while facing serious financial concerns, the school’s treasurer and music teacher decided to create a tour with a choir known as the Fisk Jubilee Singers.
Sep 20, 2019
Separate But Equal: Homer Plessy and the Case That Upheld the Color Line
In June of 1882, a 30-year-old shoemaker by the name of Homer Plessy of New Orleans led a revolution that aimed to overturn Jim Crow segregation laws.
Sep 11, 2019
Maya Angelou: 20th Century Renaissance Woman
Maya Angelou, who was born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist.
Sep 05, 2019
Madame C.J. Walker: The First Black Millionairess
One of the pioneers of the hair care industry is an African-American woman named Sarah Breedlove. After becoming a widow at the age of 20, the pressures in her day-to-day life as a single mother led to a bad bout of hair loss in her 30s.
Jun 06, 2019
Convict Leasing
Although the 13th Amendment passed the Senate in 1864 and the House in 1865, the loopholes that exist continue to wreak havoc on the African-American population. To ensure the cotton industry would remain unaffected once the slaves were freed, convict leasing — a system that provides prison labor to plantation owners and private corporations — was implemented. The ramifications of this system continue to this day.
Jun 05, 2019
Reconstruction: The Vote
After the Civil War, the Reconstruction era brought about hope and change in the form of citizenship and equality in America. Black men were given the right to vote, and in 1870, Hiram Revels became the first African American in the U.S. Congress when he was elected to represent Mississippi in the Senate. What followed included more than 2,000 Black office holders serving at every level of America’s political system. Sadly, this progress was short-lived.
Jun 04, 2019
Madame C.J. Walker
One of the pioneers of the hair care industry is an African-American woman named Sarah Breedlove. After becoming a widow at the age of 20, the pressures in her day-to-day life as a single mother led to a bad bout of hair loss in her 30s.
May 24, 2019