10 Surprising Facts About The US That Aren’t Taught In Schools

Though a young nation, American history is rich and often devastating. Yet it created the leader of the free world, so it is surprising, perhaps disappointing, that many interesting tidbits were left out of history classes. Some you probably heard of, but others might surprise you. 

Ending of Salem witch trials 

There are many things wrong about the Salem witch trials. For one, if the women accused were indeed witches, they would not meet execution but use their magic to disappear. But, it ended once William Phips’s wife, Mary Spencer Hull, was accused of witchcraft. Phips was the Massachusetts Governor who established the Court of Oyer and Terminer. At that point, the people had already had enough, and Mary Spencer Hull petitioned Queen Mary, so she was never brought to trial. 

The Stonewall riots

In this climate, it is easy to understand why teaching teens about the Stonewall riots is not a priority. But, it does not mean that the events from 1969 were not vital for the free and accepting society most Americans enjoy today. The 60s brought even more brutality against the LGBTQ community, which led to the Stonewall riots in New York. The riots were inspired by the civil rights movement, and it aimed to end police brutality. The first Pride was held in 1970 in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. 

Before Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks is a pivotal figure in the rise of the civil rights movement. But nine months before Parks became a symbol of freedom, Claudette Colvin, 15, refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus and was arrested on March 2, 1955. She was charged with violating segregation law, and it was expunged from her record in 2021. The girl from Alabama became an American civil rights activist and gave birth to two sons. One son died of a heart attack at 37, while her younger one works as an accountant in Atlanta and has four children. 

Tulsa massacre 

In the early 1920s, Tulsa, Oklahoma, had a booming economy dubbed “Black Wall Street.” It all came crashing down after a Black teen, Dick Rowland, was arrested and accused of assaulting a White girl. According to later findings, there was an altercation, but it was not gruesome. He stepped on her foot, she used her purse to put him in his place, and he grabbed her arm to stop her. The truth did not matter, and in the following hours, armed White residents outnumbered the Black community, and the result was over 300 dead and 800 injured. 

Grammy-awarded presidents 

Three US presidents, all Democrats, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, earned Grammy awards. Carter won three, Clinton two, just like Obama. All were for the best-spoken-word album. Obama also won an Emmy for the series Our Great National Parks. Before the two-term president won an Emmy, Dwight D Eisenhower, a Republican, was given an Emmy in 1956 for “appreciation of television.”  

The Civil War gave power to Egypt 

The Confederacy’s cotton plantations struggled to export their “white gold.” The world was on the verge of cotton famine, but Governor of Egypt Ismāʿīl Pasha saw an opportunity. By the end of the 19th century, Egypt derived 93% of its export earnings from cotton. The country’s proximity to Europe helped, but most of all, it was the massive expansion of infrastructure that hard-working Egyptians that enriched the country. 

Before Columbus

It is no secret that Christopher Columbus was not the first European to reach North America. We may never know who the first European to reach North America was. Still, Leif Erikson, aka Leif the Lucky, a Viking, established a colony on Newfoundland known as L’Anse Aux Meadows National Historic Site around 500 years before Columbus. 

Theodore Roosevelt & Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day in 1884 brought nothing but heartbreak for former president Theodore Roosevelt. On that day, he lost his wife and his mother and was left with a 2-day-old daughter. This made him more empathetic and helped shape his political ambitions. Three years later, on the same day, Roosevelt was engaged. He is ranked among the greatest presidents in American history.

Christmas is banned 

The pious Puritans who came from England in 1620 to the Massachusetts Bay Colony believed that Christmas Day should be a day of “fasting and humiliation.” In 1659, the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony made it a crime to openly celebrate the holiday, saying, “whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way” will be fined. 

Snake Invasion 

Between 1945 and 1952, military transport planes accidentally carried the brown tree snake from the South Pacific to Guam. By the 1980s, the snakes had destroyed almost all bird species native to Guam. The snakes were also responsible for thousands of power outages, pet losses, and emotional trauma to residents.

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