This Black History Month we remember those African American's who've paved the way for us to realize greatness.  Special thanks to the marvelous black inventors like Michael C. Harvey who took us out of the dark by inventing the lamp in 1884,  Sarah Boone for inventing the ironing board in 1892, Garrett Morgan who in 1923 invented the gas mask and Joseph Winters for the escape ladder, invented in 1878.

There's not a day that goes by that we aren't using something invented by an African American.  All month long we will celebrate and acknowledge the many achievements of those who came before us.  Carter G. Woodson (father of black history) once said

"If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as is attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is a great factor in our civilization."

On this day, February 5th in Black History:

(Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

1866 - Congressman Thaddeus Stevens offered an amendment

Congressman Thaddeus Stevens offered an amendment to Freedmen's Bureau bill authorizing the distribution of public land and confiscated land to freedmen and loyal refugees in forty acre lots.
Thaddeus Stevens served in Congress from his home in Lancaster, PA.  As a young man he became a fierce abolitionist.  He even went beyond most abolitionists in his belief in racial equality, so much so he offered the amendment.  It was defeated in the House by a vote of 126 to 37.   Frederick Douglas led a black delegation and called on President Johnson and urged ballots for former slaves.
1900 - U.S. Rep. Jefferson Long dies
Long was the first African American from Georgia to be elected to the United States House of Representatives.  Though he was born a slave, he was self-educated and worked as a merchant tailor in Macon, Georgia.  Long was elected as a Republican to the Forty-first Congress to fill the vacancy caused when the U.S. House declared Samuel F. Gove unfit for the seat and only served from January 16, 1871 to March 3, 1871.
Long was not a candidate for renomination in 1870, but did serve as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1880.  Once his run in Washington was over, he went back to his business in Macon, Georgia.
1934 - Henry(Hank)Louis Aaron was born on this day
 Best known as the "Home Run King" baseball legend was a right fielder from 1954 through 1976 and played 21 seasons with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves in the National League (NL).  For the last two years of his career he played for the Milwaukee Brewers of the American League (AL).
In 1999, The Sporting News ranked Aaron fifth on their "100 Greatest Baseball Players" list. His stats include the fact that he held the MLB record for career home runs for 33 years.  He still holds several MLB offensive records. He is hit more than 24 home runs every year from 1955 through 1973, and is the only player to hit 30 or more home runs in a season at least fifteen times.
1958 - Clifton R became the first black to head a U.S. embassy in Europe
Clifton R. Wharton Sr. confirmed as minister to Rumania. Career diplomat was the first Black to head a U.S. embassy in Europe.  Wharton rose through the ranks of the Foreign Service rather than by political appointment such as Frederick Douglass.  That's not all, he also became the first black Foreign Service Officer to become chief of a diplomatic mission, and simultaneously the first black chief of a diplomatic mission to a European nation.
1962 - Lawsuit filed to bar Englewood, N.J., from segregting elementry schools.

Suit seeking to bar Englewood, N.J., from maintaining "racial segregated" elementary schools filed in U.S. District Court.

(Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

1990 - Barack Obama became the the first African American named president of the Harvard Law Review

President Barack Obama has been making history all his life.  Before becoming the first African American President of the United States of American, he was a lawyer.  Columbia University graduate and Harvard University law student, Barack Obama became the first African American named president of the Harvard Law Review.
In late 1988, Obama entered Harvard Law School. He was selected as an editor of the Harvard Law Review at the end of his first year, and president of the journal in his second year. During his summers, he returned to Chicago, where he worked as an associate at the law firms of Sidley Austin in 1989 and Hopkins & Sutter in 1990.
Obama's election as the first black president of the Harvard Law Review gained national attention of course.  Barack Obama would graduate with a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard in 1991, before returning back to Chicago.  He's success led to a publishing contract and advance for a book about race relations, which later evolved into a personal memoir.  In 1995, Barrack Obama's manuscript Dreams from My Father. was published.