Kevin Hart's Guide to Black History (2019) Movie Script

Martin Luther King,
a soldier for peace.
Jackie Robinson,
a pioneer
with the courage
to break barriers.
Tonight, we dig deep
to explore these
and other inspiring tales
from African American history,
like George Washington Carver,
a man who saw endless potential
in the humble peanut.
You dug deep and you came up
with the peanut thing again?
I just read the script, man.
Well, there's a lot more
to black history than peanuts.
Here's the thing about black
history... there's so much of it.
Meaning, there's so much of it,
I feel like these stories
need to be told
because it's stuff
that people don't know.
So what we're doing
is digging into the untold.
Did you know that in the Civil
War a slave named Robert Smalls
played a major role
in the Union's victory?
- Boo-yah!
- And did you know
that the first black woman
in space,
the brilliant Mae Jemison,
realized her dreams
by not taking no for an answer?
Hello, NASA?
I'm a black woman who'd like
to become an astronaut.
Or that, in 1909,
Matthew Henson
was arguably the first man
to step foot on the North Pole.
The North Pole!
Top of the world!
It's cold, let's go.
Well, we're gonna learn
about all those stories
and a whole lot more
in my Guide to Black History.
It's Kevin Hart's
Guide to Black History
- Yeah
- Black History.
Oh, Riley.
What... what
happened in here?
I threw a plate at the TV.
Well, was Nick Cannon on it?
Is that why you threw it?
'Cause Nick is awful.
I was watching
12 Years A Slave.
Oh, this is serious. Okay,
well, I can understand that.
Wait, wasn't your
little friend here?
Uh, I wanna say Jake
is his name?
It's Jeremy.
Okay, why are you
behind the couch?
I'd rather not get into it.
Rather not get into it?
Riley, what did you
do to Jeffrey?
I was mad.
She gave me
a purple nurple.
- A what?
- I twisted his nipple in anger.
Riley, we do not touch other
people's nipples in this house
You know that. This is a nipple
safe zone in this house.
I was tired
of watching black people
getting whipped
by white people.
I understand that.
Slavery was horrible.
I mean,
it was beyond horrible.
They treated us
like animals, Dad.
- I'm aware of that.
- They took our dignity.
Oh, so now you're trying
to take our popcorn, too?
Riley, Riley, Riley!
There's, like, a lot of racial
tension in here right now.
Are... are you talking
about in this room?
Are you talking
about the country?
- Both.
- I'll tell you what.
Can me and Riley
talk in private?
- Uh, Jebediah?
- Jeremy.
Right. Just go
and make yourself at home.
Come on, come on,
let me talk to you.
First of all, you don't twist
white people's nipples.
- That is a way to go to jail.
- But I don't...
Come on.
All right.
Riley, I want you
to listen to your dad.
I know you're upset, okay?
I mean, I knew about slavery,
but to see it?
It's so horrible.
And it's so embarrassing.
Sweetie, I know that.
I know how you feel,
but you gotta understand
that there's so much
more to black history
than people getting whipped.
- Yeah?
- Hell, yeah.
Amazing, inspiring stories
of black people
who showed unbelievable courage,
intelligence, and creativity
in the face of all
this horrible stuff.
There's black heroes everywhere.
Harriet Tubman, five foot even.
Sammy Davis, Junior,
five foot five.
Prince, five foot two.
Why do you keep mentioning
their heights?
No reason.
The point is, is that
for every Harriet Tubman
there's dozens
of unsung heroes
who never get the credit
they deserve.
You know what?
Take a look at this.
What are you doing?
What are you doing?
I think the battery's dead.
There ain't no batteries.
Gimme this... gimme this.
It's a book.
Sweetie, let me tell you about
a man named Henry "Box" Brown.
See, he was a slave
who escaped by
mailing himself
to Philadelphia in a box.
Look at this.
Here he is right here.
That's crazy.
Crazy like a box.
That's a play on words.
Now, sweetie,
let me put this in perspective.
Back in the 1850s,
a lot of plantation owners
liked to say slaves were
happy and well cared for.
Well, tell that
to the hundred thousand of them
who risked everything
to escape
the Underground Railroad.
Now, I know what you're
How did they dig all those
underground train tunnels
with nobody noticing?
- Yeah.
- It's a metaphor.
It wasn't really
a railroad under the ground.
It was a network of secret
routes and safe houses
formed in the early 1800s
by abolitionists
and other escaped slaves,
like the great
Harriet Tubman,
who made 13 trips
to the South
to personally free
over 70 people.
These brave souls
gave Biblical names
to landmarks along the way.
The Ohio River was known
as the River Jordan,
and Canada
was the Promised Land.
tens of thousands of slaves
settled in
the Great White North,
which explains great black
folks like Willie O'Ree
the first black player
in the NHL,
and Drake.
But not all slaves
used the Underground Railroad.
Some went to incredible,
ingenious lengths to escape.
Like Henry Brown.
Henry's wife and daughter were
sold to another slave owner
and he never saw them again.
But he turned that heartbreak
into determination
to be free by any means
All right, 155-pound cigars
bound for Philadelphia.
Toss it in the wagon.
I could use a little help, sir.
That's funny.
There we go.
Soon those cigars
will be free.
What? Why?
Is something wrong with them?
Oh, no, no, no,
they're great cigars.
Then why would
they be free?
No, you still
gotta pay for them.
That's not free.
What is this,
some sort of scam?
Forget it.
Brown had help
from a sympathetic
white shoemaker
named Samuel Smith.
Thank you again.
Hey, you're welcome.
You know I'm in here, right?
Eh, 238 pounds.
Bound for Philadelphia.
It's fine china.
Very fragile.
Sir, this is the
U.S. Postal Service,
the finest postal service
in the world.
I guarantee we will take
the utmost care
with your package.
Would you watch it, doofus?
Let me steer it.
That was me, sorry.
Come on.
Come on, move it.
While he was in the box,
Henry wrote down
his thoughts
in a journal.
After 26 grueling hours,
the crate made it
to Philadelphia.
Henry made it to a group
of abolitionists,
and when he stepped
out of the box,
his first words were...
How do you do, gentlemen?
I made it!
I'm finally here.
Dang, that's pretty slick.
Ah, I mean, it was okay.
I coulda beat it.
- Oh, really?
- Are you kiddin'?
I woulda popped off
a quick joke
that'd blew Henry's
right out the box.
Like, for instance,
if I'da said...
Someone gonna sign for this?
Guess I'm thinking
outside the box.
It is crate to be here!
Now, who kicked me
down the stairs?
No, seriously,
who did it?
'Cause they need
to die tonight.
I am killing.
I prefer Henry's line.
It has a certain
understated elegance.
Oh, come on.
Those abolitionists
were dying
in that fake reenactment.
I know what I like.
Well, anyway,
Henry's plan worked.
Okay? He was a free man,
and when word got out,
you can imagine
what happened.
Henry "Box" Brown was
the OG crate escape artist.
That's why
we're talking about him
and not Otis "Envelope" Evans.
So, what did "Box" Brown
do after he was free?
Well, he actually made
a good living
telling his story on
the lecture circuit in Boston.
And he got to know
Frederick Douglass,
who inspired him
to turn his journals
into a best-selling
But in 1850, a horrible
federal law was passed
the Fugitive Slave Act,
which incentivized
bounty hunters
to capture escaped slaves,
even in free states.
- What the...?
- See, Henry didn't want
that threat
hanging over him,
so he moved to London and,
get this, he actually became
- a successful magician there.
- I like magic.
At first, he performed
his escape story in London.
But he learned magic
so he could exploit
the showmanship he developed
for new gigs.
Behold, I've levitated
my beautiful assistant
Marjorie in mid-air.
- Do the box thing!
- Yeah!
Okay, settle down.
Just let me continue to
do my magical performance.
Less yap, more box.
Look, I appreciate
the enthusiasm, guys,
but me sitting in that box
is not a magic trick.
This is a magic show.
I'm trying
to give you magic, huh?
But you're not in the box,
and I don't like that.
- Yeah!
- Box! Box! Box!
Can you believe it?
Henry Brown had
unbelievable courage,
ingenuity, and talent.
But a tough crowd
is a tough crowd.
Maybe that's why Henry's
mentor, Frederick Douglass,
never did magic.
Which brings us to our first
Black History Minute.
While most of us
have heard of Douglass,
there's a lot about his story
that will surprise you.
Born into slavery in Maryland
in 1818,
Frederick Douglass was the most
important African American
and intellectual of his day.
He escaped bondage in Maryland
by disguising himself
as a sailor and boarding
a train for Philadelphia.
Go, birds!
When he got off that train,
he was a free man.
He later wrote
that he lived more
in his first day
as a free man
than in a year
of his slave life.
His first autobiography,
Narrative of the Life
of Frederick Douglass,
An American Slave,"
got rave reviews and became
an immediate bestseller.
It took the world by storm,
pumping new urgency
into the abolitionist movement.
As part of his campaign
to change attitudes
about black people,
he sought out photographers
and sat for more than
160 portraits,
edging out Abe Lincoln
as the most photographed
American of the 19th century.
But he never smiled once
in any of those pictures.
Because he wanted
to counteract the images
of smiling, happy slaves
that were pervasive
at that time.
But I can't help to think
that if he lived to see himself
featured on a Kevin Hart
Netflix special,
he would've been pumped.
Well, I just told you
the amazing story
of Henry "Box" Brown,
complete with a lavishly
produced reenactment.
- Ooh.
- Are you understanding
black history better yet?
Kinda. I mean, I can
relate to injustice.
Like how you gave me
the small bedroom.
Girl, you don't know
how good you got it.
Sweetie, do you know
who Robert Smalls is?
- No.
- No?
Well, you should.
See, in 1839, Robert Smalls
was born a slave,
but he became one
of the most amazing heroes
of the Civil War.
Now, let me give you
a little context.
America had only been
a country for 85 years
when it went
to war against itself.
Why? Well, the reason can be
boiled down to one word:
See, the whole economy of the
South was built on slave labor.
Namely, our ancestors,
who were bought and sold
like livestock.
When Abraham Lincoln
ran for President,
Southern leaders feared his
anti-slavery policy.
He was elected
on November 6th, 1860.
Before he took office
in March of 1861,
seven Southern states
had seceded
and formed a new nation,
the Confederate States
of America.
The Civil War that followed
was by far
the bloodiest conflict
in American history.
Almost one million soldiers
lost their lives,
including 179,000
black soldiers.
These brave men died fighting
for the ultimate cause...
the freedom
of their own people.
But at the beginning
of the war,
the Union wouldn't
let black people
serve in the Armed Forces
at all.
That changed
when Abraham Lincoln
reversed the policy in 1862.
And guess who played a key role
in convincing him to do that?
Robert Smalls.
How did a 22-year-old slave
from South Carolina
meet President Lincoln
and convince him
to let black people
fight for their freedom?
Well, that's a hell of a tale,
so listen up.
Robert Smalls grew up a slave
in Charleston, South Carolina,
where his master
rented him out
to work on a cotton steamer
called the Planter,
where Smalls
became a sail maker
and developed
a love of the sea.
I'm king of the world!
I'm sorry, did I say king?
I meant slave.
I'm slave of the world!
As the South
seceded from the Union,
the Planter was converted
into a gunship.
On April 12th, 1861,
the Confederate Navy
opened fire on Fort Sumter,
which was still held
by the Union Army
and the Civil War began.
By this time Smalls
was so skilled,
he was trusted
to be the wheelman,
A.K.A. the pilot
of the Planter.
He knew Charleston Harbor
better than anyone,
and loved piloting the Planter,
although he wasn't exactly
keen on fighting
to preserve
the Southern way of life.
Damnation, we missed!
Hit a manatee. Sorry!
The Planter's captain
was C.J. Relyea...
...who had no idea that Smalls
was hatching
a secret plan.
About 3:00 a.m. on May 13th,
the Planter was left
and Smalls made his move.
Disguising himself
in the captain's clothes,
he steamed away
from the Charleston port.
About an hour and a half later,
he reached the first
Confederate Navy checkpoint
at Fort Sumter.
He'd studied the captain's
body language
and knew the signals the sentry
would be looking for.
Captain Relyea?
What y'all doing out here
at this ungodly hour?
What's the matter, skipper?
Cat got your tongue? Hmm?
Here we go.
Greenhorn spoon, I say.
I merely had momentary
mucus nugget
in my esophageal area.
Well, sorry to hear it, sir.
My throat's been
botherin' me as well.
Can I offer you
a lozenge, sir?
Oh, no,
don't trouble yourself.
Oh, it's no trouble at all.
I'll hop in the dingy,
row it out to you posthaste.
No, no, please,
I insist.
- Cherry flavored.
- Not a fan.
- I got honey lemon, too.
- Blech.
- Mentholyptus?
- Enough.
- But, sir...!
- I hate lozenges, okay?
Good day, sir.
CSS Planter,
cleared for passage.
After he got past
that checkpoint,
he got to step two
of his plan...
a prearranged rendezvous
with a bunch of other slaves
and their families, including
his wife and his son.
Thank you, Captain Relyea.
Captain Relyea?
Son, it's me, your daddy.
Oh, thank you, Daddy!
With the slaves on board,
Smalls got through
three more checkpoints
and then, as dawn broke,
Smalls sailed North
for the Union Naval blockade
just north
of Charleston Harbor.
But when the Union captain
spotted the Confederate gunship
coming at 'em,
he got a little jumpy.
What the...? John, I told you,
fly that sheet up the flagpole.
I'm sorry, man.
I'm really diggin'
on this thread count
right now.
Put it up the mast,
you idiot!
Come on, man, I been sleepin'
on burlap all my life!
Now, John!
- I'm naked up under here.
- I don't give a damn.
The Union ships
saw the surrender sign
and held their fire.
Minutes later, the men, women,
and children
on the Planter
were free at last.
you're all free.
Thank you, sir.
And, in addition
to our own freedom,
I hope that the Planter may
be of some use to Uncle Abe
to help the fight
for those we left behind.
It will.
I love you, Captain Relyea.
Oh, right.
I love you, Daddy.
What's wrong with that kid?
He thought his dad
was someone else
just because
he was wearing a hat?
Hey, listen,
a minimal disguise
can be surprisingly
Look, watch this.
See this right here?
Clark Kent.
See how that works?
But they're
comic book characters.
Yeah, but what we just saw
was a sketch comedy reenactment.
I think they added the thing
with a hat as a joke.
Oh, I see.
But the basic story
was true.
No, 100%.
Anyway, listen to me.
Robert Smalls' story
just gets better from there.
When he turned that ship
over to the Union,
the government gave him
a reward of $1,500,
which would be about
$35,000 today.
That's one of those new
super fast cameras.
We only have to hold still
for another 12 minutes.
Smalls became
an instant celebrity,
and soon got an invitation
to meet Abraham Lincoln
at the White House
where he made the case
that black people
should be allowed
to fight
in the United States
Armed Forces.
I don't know why Negros
would be motivated
to risk their lives
to fight slavery.
Well, um, with
all due respect, sir...
Man, I totally had you.
Robert Smalls
became a highly decorated
captain in the U.S. Navy,
where he piloted
the USS Planter
to many victorious battles,
including the defense
of Fort Sumter
after the Union retook it.
After the war,
Smalls became
a successful businessman
in Philadelphia
before moving back
to South Carolina,
where, in 1874,
he got elected
to the United States Congress,
and served five terms.
And here's the best part.
In 1865, he bought
his former master's mansion
and raised his family there.
He even let his master's widow
live in the spare room.
And that's why everyone
should know
about Robert Smalls.
Wow. Why isn't there
a movie about him?
I know, right?
And how come
I'm not starring in it?
'Cause you're too short?
You gotta be honest. These
are good stories, aren't they?
Honestly, they'd make
a really good show, sweetie.
Yeah, remember
that show idea I had,
where you play a taxi driver
in old timey England?
Oh, you mean
Downton Cabbie?
The network loved it.
The Rock is gonna play
the Dowager Countess.
Yeah, it was gonna be huge.
Did you tell 'em
it was my idea?
No, no, no, I wouldn't
do that at all.
'Cause if had did that,
they would've stopped
complimenting me.
So you just had
to hog all the credit?
That's exactly what I did.
That's how
the world works, honey.
See, the famous guy
gets all the credit,
and the people that
actually do the work,
well, they get screwed.
Just like Matthew Henson.
Did you steal
his show idea, too?
No, Matthew Henson
was the first human
to step foot
on the North Pole.
But at the time,
all the credit
went to the famous leader
of the expedition, Robert Peary.
I feel his pain.
In the early 1900s,
all the polar exploring
was locked up by either
rich white dudes
or white dudes bankrolled
by other rich white dudes.
But, let's get real.
These dudes weren't making
these treks by themselves.
Most of the work was being done
by hired assistants,
like the Inuit and all-around
badass Matthew Henson,
the first African American
Arctic explorer.
Henson, you see,
was a master navigator
who spoke fluent Inuit.
He was Robert Peary's
right hand man.
After two failed attempts
trying to be the first
to reach the North Pole,
Peary and his team of Henson
and four Inuits
set out once again in 1909.
But on this expedition,
it was Henson who led the way,
not Peary,
carving the trail on foot,
and in crazy hard conditions.
With a compass going bananas,
Henson led everyone
on the right direction
by reading how the wind
cut the ridges in the snow.
As Henson neared
the North Pole,
Peary was 45 minutes
stricken ill
and strapped to a dog sled.
This is it!
This is it!
The North Pole! Baby!
Top of the World!
It's cold, let's go.
Oh, that's right.
I guess we gotta
wait for him, huh?
Admiral Peary!
According to my calculations,
this is it!
We did it!
Well, I suppose this calls
for celebration.
I shall be the first man
to make some tea
at the North Pole!
No need, sir.
Already took care of it.
Oh. that... well, then.
I will be the first man
at the North Pole to...
enjoy a jelly donut!
Mm-hmm, it's good, sir.
They're really good.
They're tasty.
Well, then,
I will be the first man
to celebrate the majesty
of this occasion
in a sonnet dedicated
to my beautiful wife.
Already done, sir.
She's gonna love it.
I went on and on
about how the snow
evokes her beautiful
milky complexion.
You gonna have some more
children after this.
This is good, damn it.
Well, I try.
Peary wasn't too wild
about Henson getting credit.
So he decided
that maybe he should
double check the calculations.
Wait a minute.
According to my calculations,
the North Pole
is actually right about here!
I did it! I'm the first man
on the North Pole!
High five, Uta!
Uh, but, sir,
it's too cloudy to even
get an accurate reading
with the sextant.
But, sir, it's too cloudy
to get an accurate reading
with the sextant.
Please, Matthew,
don't be jealous.
When you thought
you got here first,
I could not have been
more happy for you, right, Uta?
This is
about science, not credit.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
I hereby declare
the North Pole, Peary country!
Also, has your family
tried delicious
new Kresnik brand
jelly donuts?
How do we get
the jelly inside?
Oh, that's
a Kresnik secret. Shh.
You see a theme here, Riley?
Yeah. Black people
don't get credit
for their achievements.
Yeah, but maybe now
they will.
See, sometimes
it takes history
time to catch up.
Like the bluesman,
Robert Johnson.
He wasn't even famous
when he died.
He died at the age
27 in 1938.
But now? Now the biggest
rock stars in the world
credit him with laying
the foundation
of rock 'n' roll
guitar playing.
Big deal. I got a high score
in Guitar Hero,
on the intermediate
That CGI crowd
was loving my licks.
Okay, well, while you were
just pretending to rock out,
Robert Johnson
was doing it for real.
He was the original
guitar god, do you hear me?
Back in the '60s, his record
was studied by icons.
I'm talkin' Jimi Hendrix,
Keith Richards, Jimmy Page.
Eric Clapton
worshipped this man.
- That fat kid from South Park?
- No!
Robert Johnson was
a true rolling stone, honey.
This man took his music
to road houses
and blues clubs
all over the South.
Johnson left behind
just two photographs
and 29 songs when he died
at the young age of 27.
And while his life
is shrouded in mystery,
we know he grew up partly
in Robinsonville, Mississippi,
where another blues
legend, Son House,
saw his talent and encouraged
him to quit sharecropping
and hit the road
as a full-time musician.
His guitar technique
was so out of this world
that some say he got it
by selling his soul
to the devil.
A legend grew about
how he met Lucifer himself
at a crossroad outside
of Clarksdale, Mississippi.
What say you, human?
I want to be the best
blues guitarist
in the Mississippi Delta.
Can you help me?
I and I alone have the power
to make you the best guitar
player that's ever lived.
But you have
to do something for me.
Give me your soul
for all eternity.
That sounds fair.
All right, let's get started.
Grab your guitar.
I'm gonna show you
some chords here.
- What do you mean?
- Huh?
You're here
for the lesson, right?
Uh, no.
Oh, my bad.
I thought you came here
because you saw my flyer.
Oh, come on, man,
this ain't fair.
We... we had a deal.
Look, okay, if you take
my lessons
and you put in the practice,
you will improve.
Here, let me show you something
that will blow your mind.
That could be you
in ten years.
You know what?
I think I'm just gonna
keep on teachin' myself.
Um, okay,
how did you do that?
Oh, that?
Oh, I can teach you that.
But I'm gonna need
my soul back.
Done deal.
And 20 bucks.
Can you break a 50?
Now, this is the first chord
that I want to show you.
It's a G7.
Hear that?
- Ah, we're making music.
- There you go, there you go.
It's a little,
uh, major-ish for me.
- Okay.
- You know any Sabbath songs?
Sabbath like songs
you only play on Sunday?
Well, the one album
he made in Texas
in the late '30s didn't get
wide distribution at the time.
But then it was reissued
in the blues revival
of the early 1960s and it
blew everyone away, honey.
What's an album?
It's like a...
it's like a playlist
that you can
hold in your hand.
Whoa, trippy.
It's made
out of melted wax.
But, the moral of the story
is, Robert Johnson
did not give the devil
a purple nurple.
- So Jeremy's the devil?
- Exactly.
Wait, wait a minute.
Wait, wait, wait.
Who's Jeremy?
Oh, you mean little Jericho
in the TV room?
No, no, okay.
Let me clear this up.
Not everyone with nipples
is the devil.
Actually, I'm confused.
Now I'm lost.
Wait a minute, hold on.
Ah, no, I remember.
I got it. Got it, got it,
got it. Got it. Listen.
The point is, you should
feel pride in your heritage.
Robert Johnson's
story proves
that you can achieve
great things.
Yeah, and no one would know
until after I'm dead.
Robert Johnson
and all these other black heroes
came from nothing,
yet they achieved greatness.
And you can, too.
By being born
a musical genius?
No, no, no, no.
By working hard and not
taking "no" for an answer.
- Yuck.
- Like Mae Jemison,
the first black woman
On September 12th, 1992,
Dr. Mae Jemison fulfilled
her lifelong dream
and made history
as the mission specialist
of the space shuttle Endeavor.
Mae Jemison was born in 1956
in Decatur, Alabama.
When she grew up, she proved
to be a brilliant student,
but her teachers
were not so supportive
of her scientific ambitions.
This was back in the early '60s
when boys would stare
towards the periodic table
and girls would stare
towards setting the table.
Do you know why I kept you
after class today?
Because I found this
in your cubby.
My microscope!
I was looking for that, thanks.
Is this a shakedown?
This isn't about money.
I know science seems groovy
and far out,
but it's a dangerous
gateway subject.
Sure, experimenting
with baking soda volcanoes
might seem harmless at first,
but before you know it,
you're floating in outer space
without so much as a kitchen
to bake pies for your man.
And a man without pie
is a grumpy man.
Going to outer space
sounds awesome.
I'd love to do that someday.
No, you wouldn't.
That's just
your lady brain
tricking you
into thinking that.
Never trust your own brain.
I sure don't.
Ah, stop telling me
I can be a graphic designer
if I apply myself.
And stop asking
for equal pay.
Oh, just hang in there until the
four o'clock Valium, Cheryl.
Oh. Uh...
Wait, where'd...
where'd you go?
Mae went to Stanford
at the age of 16,
graduated with a degree
in Chemical Engineering.
Then got her medical degree
from Cornell.
She studied modern dance
with Alvin Ailey,
spent two years
in the Peace Corps,
and then, inspired by
Lieutenant Uhura on Star Trek,
she decided to boldly go where
no sister had gone before.
- Hello, NASA?
I'm a black woman who'd like
to become an astronaut.
Now, that's messed up.
It wasn't easy,
but Mae refused
to take "no" for an answer.
- Hello, NASA?
Oh, you were serious?
Oh, no, sorry, we're not taking
applications right now.
It's cool.
I'll just call back
every five minutes
until you are.
- Okay.
- Okay.
Think I'm playing games.
I'm gonna be an astronaut.
Not gonna stop me.
I'm on my way. Hmm.
Eventually NASA
gave Mae a shot
and she became an astronaut.
And, in 1992, she became
the first black woman in space.
Well, how'd she top that?
I'm gonna tell you how.
She apologized
to her friend
for giving him
the purple nurple,
and she let
her dad Kevin
watch the football game
in peace.
- Okay, I'll do it.
- Yes, that's my girl.
And it only took an hour
of historical reenactments
to get you to do it.
Go, come on.
Go. Go, go, go, go, go.
Go, go, go.
Oh, my God.
Are you okay?
Did John-Jerry hurt you?
I'm sorry I gave you
a purple nurple, Jeremy.
You ate the whole bag
of chips?
I understand.
It would've been impractical
to give purple nurples
to everyone throughout
history who deserved one.
Got that.
I got that.
But my question to you is,
did you eat it?
There's nothing left
but chip dust in here.
I-I was mad.
But I see I have
so much
to be proud of.
Hey, hey.
These had ridges.
Dust does not have ridges.
Do you understand
what I'm saying?
I learned a lot
while I was spying on you guys.
Black people have done
so many amazing things.
Yeah, and you just ate
a family-sized bag of 'em.
That's right, honey.
Potato chips were invented
by a black man.
A black man
named George Speck.
Which is unfortunate,
because it reminds me
of what you left me
with... a speck!
A speck of potato chips!
So, are we gonna see
a comedic reenactment
of George Speck creating
the potato chip now?
No, we are not.
We are gonna do it
as a puppet show.
Now, we got budget cuts.
Go sit down.
George Speck was born in 1824
in the Adirondack Mountains
in upstate New York.
George was part Mohawk
Indian and he loved to hunt.
He also loved to cook
what he hunted.
He became a skilled chef
with a flair for innovating
new, locally sourced dishes.
George developed
his culinary skills
as the head chef
of Cary Moon's Lake House,
a famous restaurant
on the Saratoga Lake,
where the wealthy Manhattanites
went on vacation.
One of his regular customers
was noted rich jerk
Cornelius Vanderbilt.
Chef! Get in here this instant.
Legend has it that one day
Vanderbilt kept sending
his French fries back
because he thought
they were too thick.
Still too thick.
That lousy, no-good...
I'll give him thin!
George got so frustrated,
he decided to sabotage
Vanderbilt's potatoes
by slicing them razor thin
and frying them to a crisp.
George Crumb,
you're a genius.
Thank you, sir.
But my name is Speck.
Whatever you say, Crumb.
got Speck's name wrong
and it stuck.
Later, he opened
his own restaurant
and put a basket of chips
on every table.
Since then,
the potato chip has become
one of the most beloved
snacks in the world.
And that's the story
of the snacks that
you hogged from me.
I left you some trail mix.
I picked out the yogurt chips,
but I left the raisins.
Kevin, what're you doing, man?
We missin' the game.
Ooh, anybody gonna eat
those floor raisins?
I grew up on dirty raisins.
Stop it.
Man, you don't even know
anything about sports, Rel.
I don't even know why
I'm talking to you.
He's not the undisputed greatest
black athlete of all time.
So you just gonna diss
Meadowlark Lemon like that.
Okay, he could turn
a bucket of water into confetti.
Michael Jordan couldn't
even do that, brother.
The Harlem Globetrotters
do not play real games, Rel.
All I know is,
is that confetti is real, man.
- Okay.
- Look, look,
had the three Ds.
- He could dunk...
- Yes.
- ...he could dribble...
- Yes.
- ...and do magic.
- I like magic.
Honey, I understand that.
But this is different.
I love Meadowlark Lemon.
I'm not gonna sit up here
and act like I don't.
What I'm saying is that
the man wasn't even
the greatest Globetrotter, Rel!
So, we gotta go
through this again, huh?
- We... I don't wanna go...
- Curly was the sidekick.
- Here we go.
- He was the scrappy dude
- of the Globetrotters.
- You want to talk about
greatest black athletes
of all time?
All right, then why not
talk about Jordan?
Why not talk about Ali?
Joe Louis?
Well, I never saw Joe Louis
do magic before.
Oh, God.
Have you ever seen
Joe Louis do magic?
In the 1930s, Joe Louis
pulled off
the greatest magic trick
of all time.
Okay? He was
the first black boxer
to be wildly beloved
by white people
while punching white people
in the face.
That, um... that's
a pretty good trick.
Can't even front.
Some say the Brown Bomber
was the best boxer
who ever lived.
But in 1936,
he got knocked out
by a German bruiser
named Max Schmeling,
who happened
to be Hitler's boy.
Louis is backpedaling,
Schmeling is moving forward,
and Schmeling connects
with the overhead right!
Schmeling misses
with an uppercut
and, oh, another straight.
Louis is down,
Louis is on the canvas!
Ja! Ja, baby!
But his victory dance
didn't last long.
Two months later,
in August of '36,
Hitler presided
over the Berlin Olympics
where Jesse Owens,
another black American,
beat Der Fhrer's uber-jocks
to win four gold medals
in track.
Owens is
speeding to the finish line,
and Jesse Owens has won!
This made Hitler mad,
of course, a lot of things
made Hitler mad.
Meanwhile, Joe Louis
was coming back strong.
And, a year later, he won
the heavyweight title
by knocking out
James Braddock in 1937.
But Joe insisted
no one call him champ
until he defeated the only guy
who ever beat him...
Max Schmeling.
A rematch was set.
Why should I
go into the ring gun-shy
when Schmeling's
two years older
and I'm two years smarter
in boxing?
Now for a little context.
In 1938, Germany was trying
to take over the world again.
So, Louis vs. Schmeling II
was more than just
a boxing match.
It was a battle between
democracy and fascism.
Hitler wanted to prove
to the world
that Germany was
good at violence.
The rematch would become
the biggest sporting event
of the 20th century.
70,000 people
jammed into Yankee Stadium
to watch the fight.
70 million listened
on the radio.
An explosive right to the jaw
hurts Max Schmeling.
Joe Louis all over Max
Schmeling here in round one.
Ripping punches to the head.
A crushing right
on Schmeling's jaw.
It's all over!
The winner,
and still champion, Joe Louis!
By the post-fight press
Hitler had come up
with a million new excuses
why his boy lost.
Yeah, Jeremy whined like that
after I purple nurpled him.
Well, it hurt
like crazy.
All right, pipe down,
Here's what I want
you both to understand.
Joe Louis wasn't just
some black hero.
He was an American hero.
And he joined the Army,
and he even donated
his prize money
to help America
kick some more Nazi butt.
Hmm. What happened
to the Schmeling guy?
That's a great question.
Well, it turns out
he wasn't such a bad guy
after all, sweetie.
He saved the lives of
two Jewish boys during the war
by hiding them from the Nazis.
After Hitler snuffed it
in his bunker,
Schmeling and Louis actually
became really good friends.
Can we talk
about Beyonc now?
She's kind of young
to be history.
But check this out, okay?
There might
not be a Beyonc
if it weren't
for Josephine Baker.
She was Beyonc before Beyonc
back in the 1920s.
She was an original diva.
She was the OD Beyonc.
Wait a minute.
Beyonc OD'd?
Listen up, guys.
Josephine Baker was born
in Missouri in 1906.
When she was 15 years old,
the Roaring '20s
were in full swing
and the Harlem Renaissance
was attracting
talented African American
musicians, writers, and artists
from all over the country.
They wanted to move on up
to the deluxe opportunities
in New York City.
Josephine made her way
to Harlem
and landed a job
as a chorus line dancer
in the 1921 Broadway show
Shuffle Along,
which was
the first Broadway show
written by,
directed by,
and starring black people.
Josephine's signature move
in the chorus line
was to get laughs by pretending
to be an incompetent dancer,
and then blowing everybody away
with her expert,
high energy moves.
This musical revue
was a sensation
with audiences of all races,
and music legends
like George Gershwin
sang its praises.
In addition to getting
Josephine noticed,
it launched the careers
of singer Paul Robeson
and composer Eubie Blake.
But while white America
was loving the black art,
they weren't
respecting the artists.
Black talent had to use
the back door
at the white venues
when they performed.
And even the famous
Cotton Club,
which featured
all-black talent,
had the infamous
brown bag policy.
You could only perform there
if your skin
was lighter
than a brown paper bag.
So when a talent scout
from Paris offered her
a feature role in a show
there, Josephine said yes.
She said she felt liberated
from racism there,
and soon she was a star.
Pablo Picasso was a big fan,
and Ernest Hemingway
called her
the most sensational
woman on Earth.
But her fans didn't know
that she was also a spy
who helped take down the Axis
powers in World War II.
In 1939, she was recruited
by Jacques Abtey,
the head of the French Military
Intelligence Service,
to use her celebrity status
to help gather intel
on the fascist powers
that were threatening Europe.
Josephine jumped at the chance
to help France,
the country
that made her a super star.
But spying is dangerous work.
Josephine was trained
in karate...
Eat foot, Fhrer!
...and marksmanship.
Josephine was now ready
to spy.
She would mingle
with military officials
and even heads of state
like Benito Mussolini,
who was actually
a huge fan of hers.
She used
her celebrity and charm
to work them for intel
on the Axis powers' plans.
I overheard
some Gestapo in the lobby
discussing troop movements.
It's all here
in this sheet music.
"Camptown lady sings this song,
doo-dah, doo-dah.
A camptown race track
five miles long,
all the doo-dah day."
Ah, I see.
So, the camptown lady
is Hitler
and he plans on invading
France on doo-dah day.
When is doo-dah day?
No, those are just lyrics.
The intel
is in invisible ink.
Of course.
I totally knew that.
Did you get any intelligence
on the location
of Italy's
new munitions factory?
I'm about to. Hurry, hide.
Well, if it isn't
Il Duce himself.
You were fantastico.
That banana dance... wow.
Ooh, why don't you book me
on a tour of Italy?
You know, I've always
dreamed of performing
at a brand-new
munitions factory.
Do you have any of those?
Well, uh...
What was that noise?
Just my puppy dog.
He's a little slow.
After the war, French
President Charles de Gaulle
awarded her
the Croix de Guerre,
the Rosette de la Rsistance,
and the Lgion d'honneur,
which was a fancy way of saying
she was a total badass.
Over the years,
she adopted 12 children
from all over the world,
which she called
the Rainbow Tribe,
making her
the Angelina Jolie OG.
After the war, Josephine became
an accomplished vocalist
and returned to perform
in America,
where she fought
for racial equality,
putting pressure on clubs
to desegregate,
and was the only
female speaker
at the 1963
March on Washington.
A.K.A. Martin Luther King's
I Have a Dream speech.
And then, in 1973,
at the age of 67,
she made a triumphant return
to Carnegie Hall
for a series
of sold-out shows.
See, now, Josephine Baker's
a true hero.
And I just told you
a story about her,
which kind of makes me
a hero, too.
Boy, I shocked myself.
Here you go, sweetie.
- Again?
- Yeah.
- Can I have one?
- No!
Really, Dad?
Thank you.
I already got 75
in my drawer.
Frame it.
Barnstorming aviator
Bessie Coleman
was a pioneer
with a taste for adventure.
In 1921, she became the first
African American woman
to earn a pilot's license.
The daughter
of a Texas sharecropper,
she became obsessed
with becoming a pilot
at age 23, while working in,
of all places,
her brother's barber shop
in Chicago.
During manicures all day,
she overheard exciting tales
of flying
from World War I pilots
as they got a trim.
Bessie faced
an uphill battle,
as none of the pilot schools
in America
would accept a black woman.
she moved to France
and earned her license from
a prestigious school there.
Later, Bessie went to Germany
to meet the Fokker.
Namely, Anthony Fokker,
who ran the most successful
civil aviation company
of the 1920s.
There, she was trained
in advanced stunt flying,
and then returned
to the U.S.,
where she became
one of the most famous pilots
on the barnstorming circuit.
And she fought
for Civil Rights
by refusing to perform
in segregated air shows,
Despite having to struggle
against all odds
to obtain her dream,
she never got discouraged.
Even though, I heard, she was
always getting pulled over
by the cops asking
where she got that nice plane.
Oh, my God,
they ripped his arm off!
- Oh.
- This is terrible.
Man, I got a lot of money
on this game.
Do you think they could
sew it back up, Kevin?
I don't know.
You're asking
the wrong person.
You need somebody
like Vivien Thomas to do that.
Let me guess, she was
an African American doctor.
Uh, no, young lady,
you're wrong.
He was one of the most brilliant
and respected surgeons ever.
But he wasn't a doctor.
In fact, he never even
went to medical school.
The story starts
all the way back in 1893,
when, believe it or not,
heart surgery
was actually pioneered
by an African American surgeon,
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams.
But most people
don't know that.
Just like black cowboys.
Early black medical heroes
were largely forgotten,
and as Jim Crow laws
got worse,
it got harder and harder
for talented African Americans
to advance
in the field of medicine.
By the 1930s,
fewer and fewer blacks
were getting into predominantly
white medical schools.
One exception was a kid from
Louisiana named Vivien Thomas.
He was accepted
to Vanderbilt University,
but then had to drop out
when the Great Depression hit
and his family's savings
were wiped out.
Thomas wound up taking a job
doing carpentry,
working on campus until
he could save up enough money
to complete his education.
That's where he saw
an opening
for a research
surgical technician,
and soon found himself
literally on the cutting edge
of the brave new field
of cardiac surgery.
Thomas' boss
was Dr. Alfred Blalock,
who was immediately impressed
by Thomas' remarkable grasp
of surgical technique
and flair for innovation.
Soon, this mere technician
was outshining the doctors
around him.
Like when he pioneered
a procedure to cure the
serious pediatric heart defect
known as Blue Baby Syndrome.
Gentlemen, as you know,
infants with Blue Baby Syndrome,
have a congenital heart defect
found in the ventricle wall
and the pulmonary valve
that prevents the full flow
of blood from the lungs.
Now, as a result,
insufficiently oxygenated blood
flows through the body,
causing these babies
to appear blue-ish.
But I believe
I devised a cure.
Yeah, right.
Like I tell parents,
there's only one cure
for Blue Baby Syndrome... paint.
I know, that always
gets a laugh.
Then I tell them,
"Sorry, you're kid's gonna..."
"...die," so...
Well, not anymore.
I've come up
with a procedure
that will connect
the subclavian artery
to the pulmonary artery,
and it works.
It kinda ruins my joke,
but I guess we can go
with your idea.
Well, I put
my heart into it, so...
Uh... no?
All right, nothing.
Even though he was
a surgical prodigy
who was teaching his techniques
to the doctors,
he was still paid
only as a technician.
News spread quickly
of the innovations
pioneered by
Thomas and Blalock.
Or, as they were known
in the press, Blalock.
Johns Hopkins University
in Baltimore invited Blalock
to be their
new head of surgery,
and he knew he needed Thomas
to come with.
But Baltimore
was pretty segregated then.
The only black employees
were janitors.
Listen, Viv, I know
you're disappointed
you still can't afford
medical school,
but what does "doctor"
mean, anyway?
It's just a title.
The point is,
you're gonna be respected
for your work right here.
Oh, oh, somebody get a doctor!
Can I help?
Yes. Get a mop.
And find a doctor.
Oh. And put those back
where you found them.
I don't know where you
picked those up,
but that is not for you.
I can't even believe this.
I don't think he intends
to get a mop.
Soon, Dr. Blalock
was performing
the revolutionary procedures
pioneered by Thomas.
But even he knew he couldn't
get through it
without his secret weapon
by his side.
Today, I will be
among the first
to operate
on the human heart itself.
No, please, please, hold
your applause until the end
in case the patient dies.
- What?
- Whoa, whoa, oh.
Uh, more anesthesia.
And there we go.
First, I will make
an incision here...
First, I will make
an incision... here?
- Mm-hmm.
- Mm, mm.
Yeah. Now, um,
once we pass the vena cava
and transect
the pulmonary artery,
then we proceed to the...
oh, my gosh,
what is all of that?
Subclavian artery.
The... the subclavian artery.
Now, you want to be careful
because you don't want
to nick anything.
Whoa, oh, boy,
that's a mess.
That's not good,
that's not good.
- Get... get... yeah.
- Uh...
Okay, all right.
Doctor, your hands.
- What?
- Your gloves have fallen off.
- Oh, uh...
- Let me get you some new ones.
Oh, of course, yeah.
I'll just put that in my mouth.
There we go.
Just one little pause
for a second.
They're awfully hard
to get on.
Oh, boy, those babies
are tight.
Oh, that's
much, much better.
Whew. Now, let's get
to some cutting.
Okay, here we go.
And, diving in.
Now, that's the ticket.
No, no, please, please.
Hold your applause,
hold your applause.
No, you're right,
because this is
some fine work
my hands are doing.
Oh, beautiful.
Ew, gross me out.
I'm crossing
the finish line and, voila.
I did it.
Yes, thank you very much.
And... and to celebrate,
I'd like to have you all over
for a cocktail party in my
beautiful home tonight.
Will there be shrimp?
Oh, boy, that's...
that's a quick recovery.
How are you?
Very... very good.
Thank you very much.
This... oh, thank... he still? Yeah,
he's still with us.
All right, nicely done.
Nicely done.
Thomas was soon
teaching his techniques
to surgical students
at Johns Hopkins.
But he was still paid
as a technician.
A fraction
of Blalock's salary.
So Blalock figured out a way
to help Thomas make ends meet.
Viv Thomas,
you have a surgical gift.
Your sutures
are God's own work.
You could stitch up a wound
before the blood hits the floor,
but even more importantly,
you make
one hell of a daiquiri!
Somebody said "daiquiri."
Well, thank you, Dr. Blalock.
You're too kind.
The key is a small incision
of the midpoint
of the strawberry.
Yes, instead
of pushing for Thomas
to get a fair salary,
Blalock actually hired him
as a bartender
at his fancy parties.
You know, Viv,
I just hate the fact
that I make so much
more money than you do.
But here's the good news.
My gutters are filthy.
And I'd throw you
a few bones
if you got up there
and cleaned them out.
I think maybe a rat
mighta croaked up there
or something.
God only knows
what's up there, you know?
Viv Thomas. Earth to Viv.
Earth to Viv.
Come back to me.
There you are.
There you are.
So, what do you say?
You climb up there
and clean them out for me?
Sure, Dr. Blalock.
Ah, you are a good man.
Take off early tonight.
But, sweetie, despite
suffering the indignities
of a system that didn't reward
him for his brilliance,
Vivien Thomas continued
to innovate and train
many future surgical
department chiefs.
And, finally,
at the age 66,
he was awarded an honorary
doctorate from Johns Hopkins,
and his former students
commissioned a portrait
to be hung next to
Blalock's in the lobby.
But what
you gotta think about
is Thomas' most
important legacy.
I'm talking about the countless
lives he saved.
Literally, sweetie.
I'm talking about thousands
of people who would have
never lived past infancy.
They all went on to enjoy
long, meaningful lives
thanks to the efforts
of this man.
Heck, yeah.
Birds take the lead.
No, no!
I'm screwed!
What do you mean
you're screwed?
And why do you keep looking
at your phone like that, man?
Look, man, I had a whole
lot of money on the game,
and now my bookie's
fittin' to come collect.
The bookie's
getting a collect...
you gotta stop
with the gambling problem.
No, see, you actually the one
with the gamblin' problem.
I told him I was Kevin Hart.
You what?
Yeah, uh, he won't take
no bets from me no more
'cause I owe him
a whole lot of money.
- You had to use my name?
- Yeah.
Okay, all right,
we gotta get ready.
Um, hmm.
That's right.
We gotta get ready, just in case
I got to go Willie Tillman.
Who is that, your crazy
cousin from Compton?
No, no, it's not,
but that's a good idea, too.
Willie Tillman
was a Civil War hero
who went all Die Hard on
a bunch of Confederate pirates.
America had pirates?
Well, I mean, they called them
"privateers" at the time.
See, they captured Union ships
and they'd sell them for money.
At the start
of the Civil War in 1861,
the South didn't
have much of a Navy,
so they supplemented their
forces with these privateers,
a quasi-legal
kind of pirate.
Confederate privateers
made a ton of money
the old-fashioned way,
by stealing it.
They lurked along shipping
routes in their own vessel,
then boarded a passing
Northern merchant ship
and overthrew the crew.
Next, they sailed the captured
ship to a Southern harbor
where a special court
approved the seizure.
The ship and its cargo
were sold at auction,
and the pirates...
I mean privateers...
kept most of the booty.
One of the most successful
of these pilfering vessels
was a 187-ton former slave ship
called the Jefferson Davis.
In her first two months
at sea,
the Jefferson Davis captured
nine different Union ships,
and business was booming
until they messed
with the SS Waring.
After capturing the ship,
the privateers on board
were steering
the Waring back home
to claim their prize.
But, instead,
they got a bloody surprise.
Turns out, this was one
of the first recorded instances
of pulling over
the wrong black guy.
William Tillman,
a free man from Delaware,
was the ship cook
and steward.
And he knew that
if the privateers
made it back
to the Southern port,
his future outlook was cloudy
with a chance of chains.
Willie wasn't
going out like that,
so he bided his time
looking for an opening.
The privateer captain
was William Pasteur.
He kept Tillman on board
so he could continue
to serve as a cook.
For nine days,
they sailed south
into the Confederate
Well, to the Confederacy
and the spoils of war.
Should be in Charleston
by morning.
And, uh, what shall become
of our fine cook here,
Master Tillman?
Oh, I'm sure
such a fine cook
will fetch
a mighty fine price...
at slave auction.
Good one, sir.
That's a good one right there.
Repeated use
of the word "fine."
Fine cook, fine price.
You a regular Mark Twain.
A literary master.
I get it.
That sure is
hilarious, sir.
That boy sure does
love wordplay.
Yes, although technically,
that was just repetition.
All I know is he'll be
a slave tomorrow,
and that's just fine by me.
That night,
Tillman went clubbing,
if you know what I mean.
Less than ten minutes later,
the ship was his.
Yeah, that's comin' down.
Now, I, William Tillman,
a free man,
I'm the captain
of this ship!
Five days later,
on July 21st, 1861,
the Waring arrived
in New York Harbor.
As it happens,
the first major battle
of the Civil War at Bull Run
happened on this same day,
and the Union lost in a rout.
So, news of Tillman's daring
escape came at just the time
the Northern public needed
a hero to buoy their spirits.
Tillman became a celebrity
and performed
at P.T. Barnum's
American Museum
in Manhattan.
He's here.
- Oh, you are dead meat, Kevin.
- Damned if I am.
You think I'm going down
in front of my baby girl?
You just watch this.
Hi, guys!
- Hi, Dad!
- Hey, Jeremy, hey.
Ah. So, did you
have fun today?
Yeah! Mr. Hart
told me a cool story
about clubbing white people.
- Well...
- Oh, isn't that wonderful.
That... okay.
Yeah, I, uh...
we thought that you were
little Rel's bookie, so...
Isn't that funny?
You know what?
That actually happens a lot.
Uh, so you guys wanna, maybe,
uh, put down your weapons?
- Yeah.
- Okay.
Okay, well, let's get some
ice cream, what do you say?
Yeah, can we get sprinkles?
Sure, sounds better
than a club sandwich.
What'd you say?
What'd he say?
Club sandwich, got ya.
He's talkin' about the bat.
Hey, Kevin,
I'll see you later, man.
All right,
I'll see you later.
All right, bye, Riley.
- See you, guys!
- It's a simple joke,
but when you think about it,
it makes you laugh 'cause...
- It's stupid.
- No, it's not.
It was the timing of it.
Hey, I really thought
we were about
to be black history
just now.
I was scared.
I was a little nervous.
You already made black
history to me, Daddy.
What do you mean?
What are you doing?
'Cause you're
the shortest comedian
to sell out
Eagles stadium.
Oh, everybody's
got a joke.
Okay, I'll take it.
I'll take that.
I have no problem
with taking that,
but what about
the stories, honey?
Do you understand now?
Do you get it,
that black history was just more
than slavery and oppression?
I mean, goodness,
you have the innovation,
you have the brilliance,
the creativity.
These were the things
that we used
to challenge
the oppression.
I mean, God,
when you just think about
what black history's
done for the culture,
the whole entire world,
I mean, the way people talk,
the way they dress.
The word "cool,"
all of this stuff
has come from our culture.
Hell, the whole idea of "cool"
was invented by black people
100 years ago.
- Cool.
- I mean, before, the word "cool"
was used to describe
sweater weather.
We've come a long way
since Henry "Box" Brown.
I mean,
thanks to our ancestors,
Barack Obama didn't
have to mail himself
to the White House
in a crate.
Are you proud of your
black history now, Riley?
Yes, Dad.
Ha! That's right.
It's Kevin Hart's
Guide to Black History
- Yeah
- Black History
Ooh, ooh, all right
Black history