February is Black History Month, a national celebration of the achievement and contributions of people of African Ancestry to the development and advancement of the United States of America. What started as a 'Negro History Week' celebration in 1926; with research and exhibition of the rich cultural history of the African Diaspora in the United States, soon became a month-long celebration to this day. This creation was the brain child of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, also known as the 'Father of Black History'. Dr. Woodson was a writer and historian; only the second African-American to earn a doctorate from Harvard after Dr. W.E.B Du Bois in 1912. He studied extensively on African-American history, establishing a Black History Month Institution that celebrated African-American history for years before it was officially recognized in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. Since then every US president has recognized February as Black History Month.
Dr. Woodson chose February because the 12th was the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, and the 14th that of Frederick Douglass; two important figures in the shaping of Black history in the United States. (Scott Daryl, 2011).
During this period of celebration, it is important to remember that Black history did not start with slavery; that the people today called Blacks or African-Americans are descendants of Africans who once ruled the world, and continue to occupy a landmass three times the size of North America.To date, there are 1.3 billion Africans living in the African continent alone, and 140+ million more in the diaspora including the United States. Though many of their progenitors were transported and enslaved in the Americas, history records their being in the centuries before Columbus was to 'discover' it 1492. Let this be a time for celebration of the rich African heritage,history, traditions and cultural identities that remain anchored to their roots in Africa.
Let this year's celebration be an opportunity to educate ourselves, our communities, our children, and students on African and African-American history. Let it be a month of reflection and learning through interaction with discussions, speakers, pictures, plays, and posters of important dates and people. It is also an opportunity for institutions of learning, to seek opportunities for inclusion into school curriculum, lessons on African and African-American history.
Like Dr. Woodson and other predecessors would have it, we look forward to the day when an annual celebration will no longer be necessary, but the history is commemorated throughout the year.
Azin Tanni Sr.
The Father of Black History Month
Monday, January 20th is observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It is a day when our nation celebrates the life and work of Dr. King. Dr. King became the most important voice in the Civil Rights Movement which advocated equal rights for ALL. For his work, Dr. King was the youngest person to receive the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
In addition to being a Federal holiday, Monday has also been designated by Congress as a national day of service to honor Dr. King’s legacy.
Dorie Miller was a true, iconic and an unsung American war hero. Read how a farmer- turned Seaman helped save the lives of many aboard the USS West Virginia without a single day of formal weapons training.
Photo by pingnews.com on flickr (cc)· This image is believed to be in the public domain and is from the National Archives.
ARC Identifier: 535886. Local Identifier: 208-PMP-68. Title: "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty.", 1943