February is Black History Month in the United States. Since 1976, this month has been designated to acknowledge the achievements and history of generations of African Americans.
From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., prominent civil rights leader and recipient of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance; to Maya Angelou, author and activist renowned for her memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”; to Jackie Robinson, the first African American Major League Baseball Player and the first African American inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame – their accomplishments are far greater than what is summarized in these few lines.
Did you know? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as part of the March on Washington on August 28, 1963. Not long after that, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, after 10 years of lobbying led by the NAACP in addition to other peaceful protests for civil rights, according to NAACP.
Did you know? Along with more than 50 honorary degrees and many awards she received, Dr. Maya Angelou was awarded the National Medal of Arts as well as the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Did you know? Jackie Robinson was also a civil rights activist, speaker, and the first African American named vice president at a fortune 500 company. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984 and the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’s highest civilian award, in 2003.
One way to honor these distinguished individuals is to learn more about their lives, beliefs and accomplishments. Then learn the history and contributions of all those who preceded and followed them. Freedom, equality, unity and inclusion. The contributions of African Americans have shaped history and will continue to do so for generations. Join us in celebrating Black History Month.
NAACP – History Explained- https://naacp.org/find-resources/history-explained/1963-march-washington
Poetry Foundation – Maya Angelou – https://poets.org/poet/maya-angelou
Jackie Robinson Foundation – About Jackie Robinson- https://jackierobinson.org/jackie-robinson/
African American History – https://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov