TikToker debunks fake Black history ‘facts’ many people still believe: ‘Misinformation can become history’

Jessica Ann Mitchell Aiwuyor is the founder of the National Black Cultural Information Trust. Aiwuyor uses her TikTok account to educate her followers on Black history by debunking myths, recounting little-known facts and discussing the importance of historical remembrance. 

“We don’t move forward by ignoring slavery,” Aiwuyor said in a video. “Once we recognize what happened to us, that helps us move forward. We learn the ethnicities of ancestors. We learn their traditions. We make those connections better because now we know more about the people that were enslaved and the systems used to enslave them.” 

In another video, she debunked “fake Black history” to show how “easily misinformation can become history.” 

“The Willie Lynch Letter is fake,” she explained. “There’s absolutely no historical record of this person ever even existing.” 

An enslaver by the name of Willie Lynch was to have allegedly written a pamphlet that widely circulated. In it, the letter supposedly gave instructions to Virginia enslavers on how to use brutality to control enslaved people. But there is no evidence that such a person ever existed. 

“Sojourner Truth never said, ‘Ain’t I a woman.’ That was never a part of her speech,” Aiwuyor said. “That was a part of a fictitious account that was rewritten 12 years later after her actual speech by a white woman abolitionist.”

Sojourner Truth, the first person to successfully sue the courts for illegally enslaving her 5-year-old son, never spoke with a Black Southern accent. She was from New York and spoke Dutch and English.

“Jesse Jackson did not create the term ‘African American.’ He’s not even responsible for popularizing the term,” Aiwuyor said. “That was a Black woman activist Ramona Edelin.”

The term actually dates back to the 1700s. Activist and educator Ramona Edelin, who also founded the first African American Studies program at Northeastern University in 1972, popularized the term. 

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