February is Black History Month and it celebrates the rich cultural heritage, adversities, and accomplishments that are a permanent part of the United States’ history. The sacrifices that African Americans made helped shape the history of this nation; thus this month is set aside to recognize their contributions.
In 1926, Historian Carter G. Woodson, the “father of Black history,” and Minister Jesse Mooreland inspired schools and communities to organize local celebrations and host performances and lectures to promote and educate people about Black history. Woodson designated a weeklong celebration, which set aside the second week of February as “Negro History Week” to encourage the teaching of Black history in public schools, colleges and universities. As protests against racial injustice and inequality spread across the nation, Woodson’s idea was to focus and broaden the consciousness of citizens.
In 1976, U.S. President Gerald R. Ford officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. President Lincoln paved the way to abolish slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation and Douglas was an activist, an author, and a prominent leader who escaped from slavery and joined the movement to end slavery.
This year’s theme for Black History Month is, “African American and the Arts.” The theme is to enlighten the impact and influence of African Americans in the fields of the arts. Please take some time this month and throughout the year to learn and recognize some of the pioneers in Black History who were true trailblazers. To name a few was Harriet Tubman who escaped slavery and became a “conductor” on the Underground Railroad that helped enslaved people to freedom; Rosa Parks, who refused to give her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus; and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a social activist who sought equality and human rights for African Americans, the economically disadvantaged and victims of injustice through peaceful protest.
At LLGI, we acknowledge our colleagues who come from the background of this deep racial history and are on the frontline advocating for equity and inclusion.