As we all know, February marks the formal celebration of Black History Month. What you may not know is that before there was a designated month to celebrate the culture, people, achievements and contributions of African Americans, Carter G. Woodson launched “Negro History Week” in 1926.
However, it wasn’t declared a national observance until 1976 when President Gerald Ford made the decree which has been routinely practiced with each sitting President thereafter.
At the heart of this initiative, is a recognition of both the power and lack of education as it pertains to the African Diaspora and the numerous contributions made to society by other Black people.
Each year, Black History month celebrations tend to highlight a “who’s who” of notable contributors, but aside from familiar names like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriett Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Fredrick Douglas, are you really well versed in the history and current state of affairs of your culture?
Are you aware that in 2019 there are still notable Black “firsts” being made? Which further highlights the disparities between access and opportunities between African Americans and people of other cultures? Do you have a deep understanding, love and appreciation that we are literally standing on the shoulders of people who, for centuries, lost their lives, shed blood, sweat, and tears, often with the intent to lay a better foundation for later generations?
More importantly, do you understand that one of the most influential figures in Black History is, you? Yes, you. What does your life’s work mean for the betterment of society? Or, are you complacent with living each day for your own pleasure and benefitting off the hard work and sacrifices of a few who are willing to do the work? While everyone isn’t meant to be a public figure or martyr for the cause, we each have a responsibility to make an impact on this world no matter how big or small. What will your legacy be?