Black His­tory Month - re­mem­ber­ing legacies

Big Spring Herald Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By ANNA GUTIER­REZ Staff Writer

The 13th Amend­ment to the Con­sti­tu­tion abol­ished slav­ery in the United States. That amounted to ap­prox­i­mately four mil­lion peo­ple who faced a lot of un­cer­tainty. Although slav­ery had been out­lawed, many African Amer­i­cans had no where to go and could not ob­tain jobs for a fair wage. Many were left work­ing for the same plan­ta­tions.

The Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for the Ad­vance­ment of Colored Peo­ple was founded in Fe­bru­ary, 1909, 100 years af­ter the birth of Abra­ham Lin­coln. 50 years af­ter then end of slav­ery, his­to­rian Carter G. Wood­son and min­is­ter Jesse E. Moor­land founded the As­so­ci­a­tion for the Study of Ne­gro Life and His­tory (ASNLH). This or­ga­ni­za­tion was founded in or­der to find and pro­mote achieve­ments by Black and African Amer­i­cans. To­day, this or­ga­ni­za­tion is known as the As­so­ci­a­tion for the Study of African Amer­i­can Life and His­tory (ASALH).

ASNLH spon­sored a na­tional Ne­gro His­tory Week for the first time in 1926. The sec­ond week in Fe­bru­ary was cho­sen in or­der to co­in­cide with the birth­days of Abra­ham Lin­coln and Fred­er­ick Dou­glass; both of those dates were hon­ored by the Black com­mu­nity. It was hoped that dur­ing this week, schools and com­mu­ni­ties would hold cel­e­bra­tions and study the his­tory of black peo­ple and their ac­com­plish­ments.

Ne­gro His­tory Week gained pop­u­lar­ity over the decades. Black His­tory Month was first pro­posed in Fe­bru­ary 1969 by the or­ga­ni­za­tion Black United Stu­dents at Kent State Univer­sity, and the first cel­e­bra­tion took place the fol­low­ing year from Jan. 2 1970 to Feb. 28, 1970. By 1976, Black His­tory Month was be­ing cel­e­brated all across the coun­try and was of­fi­cially rec­og­nized by Pres­i­dent Ger­ald Ford. Pres­i­dent Ford urges 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, the month of Fe­bru­ary has been known as Black His­tory Month.

Other coun­tries in the world also cel­e­brate Black His­tory Month. It was first cel­e­brated in the United King­dom in 1987, and this cel­e­bra­tion was or­ga­nized by Akyaaba Ad­dai-sebo, who is from Ghana, and who served as a co­or­di­na­tor of spe­cial projects for the Greater Lon­don Coun­cil. In Canada, Black

His­tory Month was first cel­e­brated in 1995, but it did not be­come of­fi­cially rec­og­nized by the Se­nate un­til 2008. In the late 19th cen­tury, Cork, in the Repub­lic of Ire­land, was a leader in the abo­li­tion­ist move­ment. Ire­land be­gan rec­og­niz­ing Black His­tory Month in 2010.

The theme for 2020 Black His­tory Month is, “African Amer­i­cans and the Vote”. 2020 is the 150th an­niver­sary of the 15th Amend­ment which granted black men the right to vote. It is also 100 years since the pass­ing of the 19th Amend­ment, which granted the right to vote to women. It is en­cour­aged for ev­ery­one to reg­is­ter and make your voice heard through your vote.

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