President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month 45 years ago.
As we wrote in years past and will write in the future, one month isn’t nearly sufficient to recognize all of the accomplishments conquered by Black Americans. We should celebrate these achievements year-round. However, it’s nice to bring some extra attention to it.
The following are some important Black History Month milestones (source: history.com):
• 190 years ago (1831): Abolitionism and the Underground Railroad. William Lloyd Garrison founded the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator and, according to history.com, became known as the most radical of Americas anti-slavery activists.
• 80 years ago (1941): More than 3 million Black Americans registered for service for World War II. About half a million saw action overseas. Even though Black Americans didn’t fully enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear at home, they still fought for those freedoms.
• 60 years ago (1961): In May 1961, CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) sent seven African Americans and six white Americans on a freedom ride from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans. Angry segregationists attacked the freedom riders in Alabama. One of the two buses was firebombed.
• 35 years ago (1986): Oprah Winfrey launched a syndicated talk show, which went on to become the highest-rated such show in television history.
• 20 years ago (2001): Vietnam veteran and four-star U.S. Army general Colin Powell was named Secretary of State by President George W. Bush.
This year, Kamala Harris became the first Black U.S. Vice President — another cleared hurdle that will be remembered forever.
These comprise just a small portion of important Black History events (as you noticed, with increment-of-five numbers).
With just a few days remaining in February, let’s make an effort to reflect on these and many other important movements toward equality.