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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

History must include people of color

By Nicole BanhStaff Writer

   Fred Hampton, Chien-Shiung Wu, and Sylvia Rivera, despite the important lives they led, are virtually unknown. However, all these people share one thing in common. They are people of color and they should not fade into obscurity for such a trivial reason.

   Throughout people’s lives, they learn about important figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. On the other hand, achievements by people of color are forgotten or worse, another person takes credit for their successes.

   This is seen in activist and revolutionary Fred Hampton. Hampton was an African-American man and the chairman of the nationwide Black Panther Party. They started and worked with many social initiatives and were staunchly anti-police.

   “Hampton was this incredibly charismatic, young, dynamic leader who formed this ‘rainbow coalition’ with Puerto Ricans and poor whites from Appalachia,” said Jeffrey Haas, one of the members of the legal team who sued Chicago Police and the FBI for the murder of Hampton. “He started a health clinic and a free breakfast program.”

   During the 1960s the Black Panther Party was well known and liked for their contributions to society. Common sense should dictate that Hampton would be a well-known figure today. Yet, few people know his name or how the FBI worked to discredit his party and later shot and killed Hampton.

   The worst part is, Hampton is not the only one. Throughout American history, large amounts of heroes are forgotten all because of their skin color. 

   Rivera is a Puerto Rican and Venezuelan woman, born in New York. As a transgender woman, Rivera often faced discrimination. 

   This later led her and Marsha P. Johnson to create Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR), which helped give housing to LGBTQ+ youth.

   Rivera also participated in the riot at Stonewall Inn, a gay bar that was raided by police. She then led multiple protests against the raiding of Stonewall.

   “Before gay rights, before the Stonewall, I was involved in the Black Liberation movement, the peace movemet,” Rivera stated in an interview in 1989, “I felt I had the time and I knew that I had to do something. My revolutionary blood was going back then. I was involved with that.”

   Another fairly unknown figure is Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, also known as the Queen of Nuclear Research. Wu was an integral part of the Manhattan project and created the first nuclear weapons.

   In 1956, Wu along with two of her coworkers would go on to make important contributions to understanding atomic science.

   However, unlike her colleagues who were given Nobel Prizes, Wu was not acknowledged for her work.

   This is a common theme seen throughout history. Despite the contributions people of color make in their fields, they are consistently left out of the picture.

   This is why it is crucial for schools to be teaching about these people so that history is not forgotten or ignored. Fortunately, Gabrielino High School will be hosting ethnic studies next year for all students interested. History classes should teach about everyone, regardless of their skin color.

   The earth is a small place in a big universe, but it is a place shared by everyone. Learning about the accomplishments from all walks of Earth should be the standard.

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History must include people of color