1. Sojourner Truth, born Isabella Baumfree, only spoke Dutch as a child.
2. Thurgood Marshall was expelled from Lincoln University for hazing aspirants to his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha.
3. Paul Robeson played professional football to pay his way through Columbia Law School, where he was the third black person to graduate.
4. W.E.B. DuBois almost completed a doctorate in economics at the University of Berlin (by far the top program of its kind in the world then), but fell short due to residency requirements and politics. He settled for being the first black person to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard.
5. Frederick Douglass settled on the name “Douglass” well into adulthood. He had to change his name often as he sought freedom. His prior last names included Bailey, Stanley, and Johnson.
6. Some of George Washington Carver’s inventions from peanuts included shoe polish, cheese, tuberculosis medicine, and axle grease.
7. While a student at Morehouse College, Samuel L. Jackson was part of a group that held the school’s Board of Trustees hostage, locking them in a conference room for hours.
8. At Morehouse, Martin Luther King Jr. failed Spanish twice and graduated with a C average. From there, he went to Crozer Seminary where he finished first in his class.
9. After breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball, Jackie Robinson went on to be a vice president at the Chock Full O’ Nuts Coffee Company.
10. Louis Armstrong’s nickname, Satchmo, was an abbreviation of a childhood nickname, “Satchel Mouth.”