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20 Amazing Facts About African Americans

Did you know Will Smith turned down a spot at MIT to pursue his music career?

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    Thanks to Beyonce and Destiny's Child, The Oxford English Dictionary added "bootylicious" (definition: "Especially of a woman, often with reference to the buttocks: sexually attractive, sexy, shapely") to the dictionary.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Ella Fitzgerald recorded over 200 albums and around 2,000 songs in her lifetime, singing the works of some of the most popular composers such as Cole Porter, Gershwin and Irving Berlin.

    Photo: Library of Congress

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    Morgan Freeman worked as a mechanic in the US Air Force. He also speaks fluent French.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Michael Jackson's video for "Billie Jean" was the first ever by a black artist to air on MTV.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Will Smith turned down a spot at MIT to pursue his music career. He also speaks fluent Spanish.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968) was stabbed by an African–American woman in 1958 while attending his book signing at Blumstein’s department store in Harlem. The next year, he and his wife Coretta Scott King visited India to study Ghandi’s nonviolence philosophy.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Muhammad Ali, the self–proclaimed "greatest [boxer] of all time" was named after his father, who was named after the 19th century abolitionist and politician Cassius Marcellus Clay.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Jay Z earned his 11th No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with The Blueprint 3. This allowed him to beat out Elvis, for the record of most number one albums by a solo artist.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Oprah was voted Most Popular at East Nashville High School. Another interesting fact? Her original birth certificate lists her name as Orpah, but when people had trouble pronouncing it, she changed it to Oprah. She became the first African-American woman billionaire in the United States in 2003.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Halle Berry first came into the spotlight at 17 years old when she won the Miss Teen All-American Pageant, representing the state of Ohio in 1985 and, a year later in 1986, when she was the first runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Some fun facts about Obama: He's read every Harry Potter book, can bench-press an impressive 200 lbs, and collects Spider-man and Conan the Barbarian comics.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Billie Holiday performer in her own Broadway show, called "Holiday on Broadway" in 1948.

    Photo: Wikipedia

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    Rewards offered by slaveholders for Harriet Tubman's capture eventually totaled $40,000. Fortunately, she was never caught.

    Photo: Wikipedia

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    Run D.M.C. became the first rap act to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone in December 1986.

    Photo: Rolling Stone

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    Tyra Banks is the first African American to be featured on the covers of GQ in February 1996, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 1996, and the Victoria's Secret lingerie catalog.

    Photo: GQ

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    Chuck Berry's duck walk dance originated in 1956 when he was trying to hide wrinkles in his suit by shaking them out with his moves.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    In 2008, Usain Bolt became the first man in history to set three world records in a single Olympics.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Denzel Washington studied journalism at Fordham University in New York. He was able to put his formal education to use in The Pelican Brief where he played a reporter.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    John Legend is a genius! He was accepted to Harvard, Georgetown and Morehouse but ended up studying English at the University of Pennsylvania before becoming a world famous singer.

    Photo: Seth Poppel/Yearbook Library

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    Snoop Dogg's voice is an option on the TomTom GPS System.

    Photo: Getty Images