Seaport Museum visitors get lesson on group often left out of Black History Month

Antionette Lee
February 09, 2019 - 7:18 pm

Antionette Lee/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Independence Seaport Museum visitors received a lesson on the unnamed women who are often left out of Black History Month.

Dr. Nyasha Junior says it’s easy to teach black history lessons by highlighting the work of individuals like Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglas, and Philadelphia's own Richard Allen, but the story is more complex than that.

“There were black women who served as nurses as cooks as washer women, but we don’t get their names and we don’t hear a lot from them in the historical record,” she explains.

Dr. M. Nzadi Keita says that lack of information is what led her on a journey to find out more about Anna Murray Douglas, the first wife of Frederick Douglas who helped him escape from slavery.

Antionette Lee/KYW Newsradio

“All Anna's headstone says is ‘Anna wife of Frederick Douglas, died 1882,’ no reference to when she was born, no reference to who she was, nothing more than a wife,” she said.

Keita says she hopes to inspire more young people to discover their own history that can be lost once older loved ones pass.

“Talk across the generations and learn from each other and particularly from people who are kind of walking history, she said.”

Seventeen-year-old Kenaizha Ezell reflected on what she took away from the event.

“We mostly focus on African-American men and their accomplishments which is really great, but we should really dig into more African American women stories.