February is Black History Month which pays tribute to major historical events and the brave individuals involved in those events that helped shape the success of this great nation.
Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after theThirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. That September, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.
In the decades the followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the Civil Rights Movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Since then, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. The 2013 theme, At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington, marks the 150th and 50th anniversaries of two pivotal events in African-American history.
History.com Staff. “Black History Month.” History.com. A + E Networks, 2010. Web. January 29, 2016. <history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-monthhostry>.
America’s union movement champions those who lack a voice in our society. Union members played a critical role in the civil rights struggles of the past and that involvement continues today.
Full Article >>> aflcio.org, FL-CIO AMERICA’S UNIONS: Labor & Civil Rights
Few of the groups that we should honor during Black History Month are more deserving than the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a pioneering union that played a key role in the winning of equal rights by African Americans.
“I AM A MAN!” the signs proclaimed in large, bold letters. They were held high, proudly and defiantly, by African American men marching through the streets of Memphis, Tennessee, in the spring of 1968.
Dr. King often spoke of the links between the struggle for workers’ rights and the cause of civil rights. “The coalition that can have the greatest impact in the struggle for human dignity here in America is that of the Negro and the forces of labor, because their fortunes are so closely intertwined,” he wrote in 1962. He knew that the labor movement had been at the forefront of social and economic progress in the United States, and he wanted to harness the power of working people to transform our society into a more just and prosperous land.
African Americans are known to have participated in labor actions before the Civil War. In the early nineteenth century, African Americans played a dominant role in the caulking trade, and there is documentation of a strike by black caulkers at the Washington Navy Yard in 1835. Caulking was of great importance in shipbuilding, for a ship was not fit for service unless it was caulked to prevent leaking.
When King was describing the “kinship” between the two movements, organized labor was strong, representing about a third of the non-agricultural private-sector workforce. The civil rights movement was still a fledgling campaign, not yet having won passage of the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act.
9 Interesting Little Known Facts About Black History Month >>> atlanticblackstar.com, by Jason Moore
Frederick Douglass, a former slave and eminent human rights leader in the abolition movement, was the first black citizen to hold a high U.S. government rank.
Fannie Lou Hamer (1917-1977) was a civil rights activist whose passionate depiction of her own suffering in a racist society helped focus attention on the plight of African-Americans throughout the South.
Full Article >>> history.com, Fannie Lou Hamer
In 1920, while serving as an educator in Charleston, Septima Poinsette Clark worked with the NAACP to gather petitions allowing blacks to serve as principals in Charleston schools. Their signed petitions resulted in the first black principal in Charleston.
Full Article >>> madamenoire.com, 7 of the Most Unrecognized Women in Black History