Theme: Our Lives Matter
Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11-14
Date: Saturday, February 24, 2018
Time: 6 P.M.
The month of February is observed as Black History Month or National African American History Month, and we use the month to remember the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s history. The celebration can be felt nationally and worldwide as many organizations, cities, states and countries host events that educate on the rich culture, and memorable figures of African American history.
Carter G. Woodson was the sole individual responsible for creating Negro History Week in Washington, D.C., in February 1926. To Woodson, the black experience was too important simply to be left to a small group of academics, and believed that his role was to use black history and culture as a weapon in the struggle for racial uplift. His goal was to ensure that school children be exposed to black history. Woodson chose the second week of February in order to celebrate the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
The development of Black History Week to a full month was proposed by the leaders of the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969, and they held their inaugural celebration one year later, in February 1970. Quickly following that event, schools followed suit, creating clubs, playing host to lectures and more, all of which is still seen today.
In 1976, the bicentennial of the United States, President Gerald R. Ford expanded African American week into a full month. He said the country needed to seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of African Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.
This holds true today when all too often only the most negative aspects of African American communities get highlighted. We are overwhelmed with images of rowdy athletes and reality stars as examples of the success of black people. And we are subjected daily to unfair stereotypes and assumptions from a culture that is still learning to accept us.
Black History Month is an integral part of our nation’s tradition in which we continue to promote positive examples of poignant historical events, exemplary leaders and steps towards societal change. This remembrance is not only deeply meaningful for the African American community, but imperative for the greater understanding of national and world history.
By reliving and remembering history, we create awareness of the struggles and challenges that African Americans overcame in this country. February has become a time designated for reflection, open dialogue, interdisciplinary education, and shared advocacy initiatives. Every race is connected to the rich history of this nation, and by celebrating Black History Month everyone can be included in a tradition of acknowledgement, inclusion and community engagement.