It is essential that we never forget the steps taken by our ancestors to bring Black History Month into a reality.
Black History Month was borne of the desire by civil rights activists and leaders to ensure the accomplishments of blacks were awarded due credit.
According to www.infoplease.com, Black History Month wasn’t always celebrated.
Before we started celebrating Black History Month, Carter G. Woodson, director of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, implemented Negro History Week in 1926.
Woodson was a Harvard graduate and was unsatisfied with the absence of black achievement from most of the history books at the time.
Whenever blacks were mentioned, it was reflective of the inferior position in which society attempted to depict them.
Woodson chose the second week in February primarily because it fell on the birthdays of two of black history’s more influential men, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
Woodson conceived the annual event as a means to demonstrate that Africans and peoples of African descent had contributed to history’s advancement.
According to the site, only black people recognized Negro History Week during Woodson’s time. By the time he died in 1950, it became a cultural hallmark event across the nation.
Later, the rise of black power and the Civil Rights Movement led black people to complain about the inadequacy of a weeklong period for remembrance. In 1967, Black History Month was born.
Since then important events have taken place in our community and become part of our history.
For example, on Feb. 9, 1971, Leroy “Satchel” Paige became the first Negro Leagues player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
We have accomplished a great deal as a people throughout history. I charge all Rattlers of FAMU, an institution of great significance to black history, to familiarize yourselves with where we have come from.
For several decades, the month of February has been distinguished for reflection on the accomplishments and incredible endeavors of some of history’s greatest black innovators, activists, scholars and athletes.
Although the history books contain stories of black pioneers and leaders, there are still blank pages waiting to be filled.
With the extraordinary education you’re receiving here at Florida A&M University, you’re being equipped with the pen and ink necessary to fill in those pages.
Go change the world…your history empowers you to do it.
Andrew Collins is a fourth-year business administration student from Tallahassee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.