Here’s why Black History Month celebrates the notable achievements of African Americans.

Several decades ago, Black people (who prefer to be called African American) in America and Britain were excluded from certain benefits and treated like they didn’t matter, just because of the color of their skin.

Racial segregation against Blacks (who were called negros) was the order of the day in places of work, schools, and neighborhoods, leading to a series of protests and uprisings in many parts of Europe and America.

Even the African-Americans were trampled upon, regardless of whether they were born and bred outside the African continent.

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The Month Of Black History

The Black community longed for a world that would be devoid of conflict and segregation because they were fed up with being frustrated and treated badly by their fellow humans.

No wonder Martin Luther King, Jr., a foremost leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 to 1968, said:

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Black American civil rights leader Martin Luther King (1929 – 1968) addresses crowds during the March On Washington at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington DC, where he gave his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech.

The likes of Martin Luther King became an inspiration for other voices to rise and say no to racism, especially after his revolutionary “I Have A Dream” speech, which has become one of the greatest speeches in history.

After coming out of 29 arrests and surviving an assassination attempt, 10 years later, Martin Luther King was murdered, but his legacy and dream outlived him.

Aside from Martin Luther King, there have been other agents of change who put in significant efforts to make the world a better place for Blacks, a world free from injustice, hatred, and inequality.

Today, the world has set aside a time to celebrate the great efforts of these heroes who fought for liberty for the Blacks, and of course the present-day achievements of many notable Blacks around the world despite the history of racial segregation.

That time set aside is referred to as “Black History Month,” also known as African American History Month, usually celebrated between February 01 to March 01 every year.

Black History Month was an idea of Carter G. Woodson, also known as the “Father of Black History,” who in 1926, devoted his time to educating people about Black history and culture.

Image: West Virginia & Regional History Center / West Virginia University Libraries

The aim was to alter the negative representation of historical Black figures in the American school curriculum.

Agents Of Change With Black History After Martin Luther King, Jr.

Related media: What Is Black History Month?

#1. Rosa Parks

An Alabama civil rights activist and secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Parks was the woman who refused to give up her seat to a white man during a Montgomery bus trip. Her actions led to the US Supreme Court ruling that racial segregation on public buses is unconstitutional.

#2. Barack Obama

The first African American president of the United States, who served two terms with notable achievements. Obama spearheaded many reforms across various sectors and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

Image: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza | President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec 06, 2012

#3. Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass was a runaway slave who taught himself to read and write. He rose to become an author, public speaker, and abolitionist leader.

#4. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is a famous Black media personality, author, and philanthropist, and the first African American woman to own a TV production company.

#5. Harriet Tubman

Tubman was another runaway slave who devoted 11 years of her life to helping other slaves transition to freedom by using the Underground Railroad as a “conductor.” Tubman assumed many identities at the time. She was a spy, scout, nurse, and soldier for the Union Army during the American Civil War.

#6. Medgar Evers

Medgar Evers was a civil rights activist who fought during World War II. He championed protests against the segregation of public primary schools, beaches, parks, and universities.

#7. Jackie Robinson

Robinson was the first African American professional baseball player in the US Major League Baseball (MLB). Upon retirement from the game, he became a civil rights activist.

#8. Booker T. Washington

Booker T. Washington was a slave-born child who couldn’t go to school even though his family had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation.

He would walk a distance of … kilometers (500 miles) to go to school at the Hampton Institute. He became the first teacher and principal at the Tuskegee Institute and later served as an adviser to many American presidents.

#9. Shirley Chisholm

Chisholm is the first elected African-American woman to serve in the US Congress in 1968. A leader of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chisholm spearheaded campaigns for equal rights, opportunities, and access for the Black community.

#10. Muhammad Ali

Known as one of the greatest boxers of all time, Muhammad Ali was the first boxer to clinch the world heavyweight title three times. Ali was also an activist and philanthropist. In 2005, he was decorated with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Written by: Gloria Aimanehin, Tue, Feb 14, 2023.


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