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A Black History Month lesson from Donald Trump

President Donald Trump holds an African American History

President Donald Trump holds an African American History Month listening session with the Rev. James Davis of the National Diversity Coalition For Trump, left, Director of Communications for Office of the Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault and Department of Housing and Urban Development-nominee Ben Carson in the White House on Feb. 1. Credit: Getty Images

“Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job that is being recognized more and more, I notice.”

— President Donald Trump, at a Feb. 1 White House event in honor of Black History Month


President Donald Trump’s tribute to abolitionist Frederick Douglass recently made national news. But you might not have heard about his shout-outs to other famous African Americans, all delivered in Trump’s trademark style:

Crispus Attucks was the first guy killed in the American Revolution, right? And he was an African-American guy? That’s yuge.

Benjamin Banneker helped survey the original borders of the District of Columbia. That’s where I live now, when I’m not at Mar-a-Lago.

Nat Turner did something really big, I just don’t know what. There’s a movie, though. People tell me it’s overrated, just like “Hamilton” is.

Harriet Tubman is going to be on money! She must have done an amazing job, too. But I hear she liked Canadians.

Booker T. Washington teaches work-related skills at theTuskegee Institute. Maybe we should book him on “The Apprentice”?

George Washington Carver was really into peanuts. He’s being recognized more and more, I notice.

W.E.B. Du Bois was the first African-American to get a Ph.D. from Harvard University. I went to the University of Pennsylvania, which is also an Ivy League institution. I’m very smart.

Carter G. Woodson started Negro History Month. Now we have to call it Black History Month. So politically correct!

Marcus Garvey tried to start the Black Star shipping company, but evil government regulators got in the way. Sad!

Langston Hughes is a poet. Terrific guy, very smart. Why isn’t he on Twitter?

Marian Anderson sang at the Lincoln Memorial, where I had my inauguration party. But I had a bigger crowd. Don’t believe the mainstream media. They’re terrible people.

Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. But I’m from Queens, which is better.

Rosa Parks did something big on a bus. Now she is on a postage stamp. I will be, too.

Ralph Ellison wrote “Invisible Man.” I wrote “The Art of the Deal.” I’m beating him on Amazon. Who’s invisible now?

James Meredith was the first black student at the University of Mississippi. He could have gone to Trump University, but evil government regulators shut it down.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for fair housing laws. Evil government regulators said my housing company discriminated against African Americans. Wrong! I love African-Americans.

John Lewis was beaten and almost killed on Bloody Sunday. Now his Congressional district is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime infested. So sad!

Thurgood Marshall was the first African American to be a so-called judge on the so-called Supreme Court.

Malcolm X was a Muslim. I hear he went to Mecca. Good luck getting back! We have to protect our borders.

Sidney Poitier was the first African American to win the Best Actor Oscar. But “The Apprentice” never won an Emmy. The whole thing is rigged!

Jimi Hendrix is playing at Woodstock. People are saying that there are some very bad people there, doing very bad things.

Hallie Berry was the first African American to win the Best Actress Oscar. She’s a “10”! I love beautiful women.

Bill Cosby made a great TV show, really terrific. Then some very nasty women said some very nasty things about him. The same thing happened to me. Unfair!

Andrew Young was ambassador to the United Nations. Who cares? It’s a waste of time and money.

Colin Powell was the first African American secretary of state. But he called me a “national disgrace.” Very unfair!

Tiger Woods won the Masters. I own beautiful golf courses. A lot of them.

Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s home run record. People are saying he cheated. But maybe he was just very, very smart. Like me.

Barack Obama was the first African American president. But he was born in Indonesia. The things we’re finding, you wouldn’t believe. Or, maybe you would.



Jonathan Zimmerman teaches education and history at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of “Campus Politics: What Everyone Needs to Know.”