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Celebrating the legacy: Black History Month’s inspiring history

Daniela Gonzalez

In February, we celebrate Black History Month, which honors the efforts and achievements of African Americans throughout history. As we embark on this incredible trip, it is critical that we reflect on the significance of this annual event and understand the rich tapestry of stories, struggles, and successes that have built our culture.

Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, originated in the early 20th century. It was founded on the pioneering efforts of Carter G. Woodson, an eminent historian and academic who realized the importance of acknowledging African Americans’ frequently ignored contributions to American history. 

In 1926, Woodson organized “Negro History Week” to commemorate the birthdays of two prominent figures: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The goal was to encourage the study of African American history in schools and create awareness about the importance of this legacy. 

Universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Princeton now all have African American history programs. Hillary Sanders, also known by many as Hillary Thompson, teaches African American history here on campus. 

Black History Month developed from a week-long celebration to a month-long observance.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford declared February as Black History Month, asking the country to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” 

Since then, Black History Month has become an important part of our national calendar, encouraging discussion, education, and reflection on the African American community’s unique experiences.

Black History Month commemorates African Americans’ tremendous achievements in a variety of professions. From civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks to groundbreaking artists like Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes, numerous people have had an everlasting influence on our civilization. Their contributions span science, literature, music, athletics, politics, and many other fields, demonstrating the African American community’s vast influence and brilliance.

Black History Month promotes education and provides greater insights into African Americans’ hardships and successes. It encourages schools to incorporate African American history into their curricula, resulting in a more complete grasp of our country’s past. Students gain a broader perspective and develop empathy by learning about African Americans’ problems and perseverance, which contributes to a more inclusive and equitable society.

Black History Month is a time to celebrate the beauty of variety and promote unity among all communities, as well as to acknowledge African Americans’ achievements. It promotes dialogue, cultural exchanges, and the sharing of stories, which can help bridge divides and create understanding. By embracing the lessons and legacies of African American history, we can create a more inclusive future in which all voices are heard and valued.

As we observe Black History Month, remember that the celebration extends beyond a single month. It is an ongoing process of learning, comprehending, and honoring African Americans’ immense contributions to our common past. By commemorating Black history and celebrating our country’s diversity, we can pave the path for a brighter and more inclusive future for everyone.

A few key figures to remember include

  • Dorothy Jean Johnson Vaughan was an American mathematician and human computer who worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, and NASA.
  • Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman elected to Congress.
  • Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. He became the most important leader of the movement for African-American civil rights in the 19th century.

A few important dates to remember include

  • The abolition of slavery was on December 18, 1865.
  • Desegregation was made in effect on July 26, 1951.
  • Interracial marriage was legalized in 1967.
  • On November 4, 2008, the first Black president, Barack Obama was elected.
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About the Contributors
Brooklyn Onley, Staff Writer
Daniela Gonzalez
Daniela Gonzalez, Staff Writer

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