The missing text in American history books

Articles from the True Black History Museum are featured during virtual workshops. True Black History Museum | courtesy

Speaker and founder of the True Black History Museum,  Fred Saffold III brings his virtual workshop to Saddleback College

Limited information is known about prominent African American historical figures.

To really grasp African American contributions made throughout history, you could visit the 109 Black history museums around the nation, according to World Atlas, the first of which can be traced as far back as 1868 in Hampton, Virginia.


Another option would be to check out Fred Saffold III’s traveling Black history museum, featured Feb. 24 via Zoom as part of Saddleback College’s Black History month events. Saffold, a retired law enforcement officer, tours college campuses around the nation displaying and explaining rare and exceptional historical artifacts taken from African Americans dating as far back as the early 1600s. 


“I think it’s important to recognize that Black people have a rich history that predates 1619 and have made significant contributions to humanity,” Saffold said. “Black People, African-Americans, people of african descent have value.”

This interactive and virtual workshop takes their attendees on a journey across the history of African Americans in this country. 

“A lot of information about the contributions of African Americans were left out of the history books,” Saffold said.

During the exhibition, he spoke of the many contributions people of African descent have made to the world, such as the Pyramid of Djor.

Saffold began his presentation covering the tragic murder of a young boy in Mississippi named Emmitt Till. In 1955, Till, a Chicago native, was visiting his relatives in Mississippi and was accused of whistling at a white woman. As a result, several Ku Klux Klan members broke into the home of his relative and brutally murdered him.

Emmitt Till was only 14-years-old. Saffold continued by stating this was arguably the beginning of the civil rights movement. He made the comparison by saying his father had a habit of questioning white authority and this too could have easily been him.

“Trauma can be passed down for generations,” said Saffold.

The True Black History Museum was founded in 2010 for the purpose of preserving African American history and informing various educational institutions throughout the nation that people of African descent have value.

To continue the learning, Saffold provided a unique text number for attendees to use in order to receive historical information about some of the artifacts displayed and topics discussed.

For example, to learn more about the slave trade door used during the Atlantic slave trade as the final exit point of enslaved Africans, also known as the “Door of No Return,” he provided text TBHM DOOR to 56512.

One of the most impressive and rare artifacts displayed during the workshop was Saffold’s signed letter from Fredrick Douglas, as well as an authentic signed Bill of Sale for an enslaved African at a high price of $925.


A signed letter from Fredrick Douglas in 1882 is displayed during exhibition. True Black History Museum | courtesy

He discussed the still-existent large corporations who previously benefited from slavery, such as JP Morgan Chase. Saffold accused them of using enslaved Africans as collateral.


In addition, he mentioned a current insurance company who commonly reimbursed slave traders once their owned enslaved Africans passed away, as though they were cattle and not human beings.


Saffold closed his presentation by suggesting attendees refer to African American ancestors as “enslaved Africans” in lieu of slaves, which Saffold stated can be looked at as dehumanizing.


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