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George Washington Carver

Beyond the Black History Month hit parade

Beyond the Black History Month hit parade

Black History Month reminds me of a really great golden oldies station, always blaring the same handful of terrific tunes. Every February, it plays Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman soul — with a chorus or two of the George Washington Carver blues.

Now don't get me wrong. This is my kind of history, and my kind of heroes, and I understand why we must tell every generation their stories. I just think that including some fresh tales too would produce a far fuller picture of how blacks enriched America.

Rosa Parks, for example, had many counterparts. One was Irene Morgan. Eleven years before Parks refused to surrender her seat to a white man on an Alabama bus,...