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With February comes Black History Month

With February comes Black History Month. Its celebration of our nation’s Blacks became a national observance in 1976 under President Gerald Ford.

As always, the month calls to mind great community leaders, from the civil rights movement, from academia, from city leadership, law enforcement and daily life.

Black History Month was established by Carter G. Woodson. Woodson, born in 1875 and the son of former slaves, himself a former coal miner and educator, understood a proper education was important in seeking to make the most out of one’s freedom. He earned his high school diploma in an all-black high school in Huntington and advanced degrees at the University of Chicago. He was the second African American to earn a doctorate at Harvard.

He established the association in 1915 and began “Negro History Week” in 1926 after recognizing a lack of information on the accomplishments of blacks in American history. February was chosen because of the correlation with the birthdays of abolitionist author Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.

Taught the theories of “black inferiority” the same as white students when he earned his degrees, Woodson knew better, and knew his mission was to teach truth. Many have followed him for the betterment of our country.

And that’s what is available to all during Black History Month: a chance to ponder contributions in all walks of life, to be educated, to learn and to appreciate. The 2021 Black History Month theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity.” Learn from the events and programming being held to celebrate this special month. You will be a better person for that.

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