Year after year, we are reminded for a short time that African American history is a part of our world’s history.
February is the month when we recognize the contributions of notable blacks throughout history. Black history month is reserved and signifies the honor of phenomenal and prominent African Americans.
Established in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, was the first known year of recognition of black history known as Negro History Week. It wasn’t, however, until later in 1976 that a full month would be reserved for the celebration of the bicentennial formation by the United States by the Association for the study of African American Life and History that black history month was established.
In the earlier years, black history was celebrated by reciting poems, skits, parades and speeches in remembrance and to recognize those who helped to build a legacy of many great accomplishments.
Today, the remembrance of notable blacks is still practiced. repeated accolades of some of the most influential individuals who have made a difference in society such as the famous Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and the prestigious and late Nelson Mandela.
Too often, however, we forget the many others who have also made a difference that aren’t classified as high-profile activist and are overlooked as being heroes.
Just briefly, here are a couple of unfamiliar individuals who can be viewed as prominent leaders and motivators and deserve recognition for their accomplishments:
Ernie Banks, nicknamed Mr. Cub, is known as one of the most successful black baseball players to never play on a championship team. Banks had one of the longest recorded streaks in baseball, playing in 717 consecutive games between 1956-1961. He retired in 1971 with 512 career home runs and 1,636 runs batted in. Today Banks is 83 years old.
Charles Brooks inventor of improvements to the street sweeper trucks.
Marie Brown, invented and patented the first video home security system on December 2, 1969.
Also, when asked, several UWA students shared why black history month is important and how they show their appreciation during the month.
Dondraius Mayhew, senior and history major, says, “It is important because it reminds us of the struggle of one race to overcome obstacles. Black history encourages us to continue to fight for social, racial and gender equality.” Mayhew is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first college fraternity for African Americans since 1906.
Lakedra Rodgers, a senior IMC major says, “Black history is important to (our) race because it is important to know your history and where you came from.”
Over the years, generations are adapted to this tradition of celebrating black history. Not only for the month of February, but the year round the history of an exquisite minority has become a part of our world’s history.
In the encyclopedia of African American history, a brief insight from Carter G. Woodson, perfectly renders the meaning and purpose of why we should recognize and take pride in this prolific history of black history.
“If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and stands in danger of being exterminated.”