Chauncey Figgures admits he is a history geek.

Figgures, a junior in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Department of Communication program, has long been interested in reading about the trailblazers in Black history. So he has taken the next step this month by turning what he has learned into short stories about historical figures on Facebook.

“I want to do something cool for this year. Every day starting today until the 28th of this month, I am going to try my best to give you African American men and women who pave the way for us to have history to share,” he wrote in introducing his plans with what he described as a long post alert on Feb. 1.

Starting with a tribute to Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress, Figgures has been posting daily to Facebook about notable figures in Black history. His write-ups have included Olympian Jesse Owens, civil rights activist Annie Lee Cooper, film director Gordon Parks and aviator Bessie Coleman.

“I love history. I always was a history geek, and I think the whole Black History Month is so special,” Figgures said. “Since we’re in COVID, and we can’t be around everybody, I think it’s a good way for me to share what Black history is all about and share some of the African Americans that paved the way for us.

“I think people would like to know about Black history and some people who they never knew or heard about. I think it is just a good way to share the history of what others did and showcase the people we admire.”

Figgures said he likes to perform Google searches about “who was the first person to do this and who the first person was to do that,” and he finds research an excellent starting point to share what Black History Month means to him.

“I read about these people and write a little sample of what they did,” he said. “I just want to put together little paragraphs about them.”

Even with a full UTC course load, Figgures plans on updating his Facebook posts throughout February.

Figgures is part of history himself. He and his brothers, Caleb and Chris, are triplets. The Figgures’ were the first African American triplets to be born at Hutcheson Medical Center—now CHI Memorial Hospital-Georgia in Fort Oglethorpe—and the first African American triplets to graduate from Ridgeland High School in Rossville, Georgia.

The Figgures triplets are all in the same communication program at UTC and even take some courses together.


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Chuck Wasserstrom is an executive staff writer in the UTC Office of Communications and Marketing.

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