Most of us are aware that February is Black History Month. We have so many things going on around the Southland to commemorate the accomplishments and triumphs of the African American Community. Just this week Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Our Authors Study Club will kick off the month by honoring local heroes. Corporations and organizations will also hold dinners and special events where the community can come out and participate. This coming weekend the 46th NAACP Image Awards will be celebrating and uplifting those who project positive images across the screen. I encourage everyone to check out the Calendar Section in the paper to find out where you can get involved.
Also making history this week, newly elected Assemblymember Mike Gipson from the 64th District, will hold a Community Swearing In Ceremony at California State University Dominguez Hills on Saturday, February 7th at 10:00am. The event is free and open to everyone in the community. The Honorable Jerome Edgar Horton, Chair of the California State Board of Equalization and former California State Assemblyman for the 51st District who served from 2000 until 2006 will officiate the oath of office. This is a time where you can come out and meet newsmakers first hand.
As we celebrate the accomplishments of those who came before us and the work being done today, it is also very important to understand how we got to this point. Historically, African Americans contributions to society were ignored and definitely not chronicled. However, Carter G. Woodson an African-American writer and historian decided to change all of that and became known as the “Father of Black History Month.” Dr. Woodson had many accomplishments, but he knew the power of the pen and he formed the African-American-owned Associated Publishers Press in 1921. He went on to write more than a dozen books including the book, Mis-Education of the Negro (1933).
Dr. Woodson knew the importance of everyone learning about the contributions made by Black people so he lobbied schools and organizations to participate in a special program to encourage the study of African-American history, which began in February 1926 with Negro History Week. The program was later expanded and renamed Black History Month. Dr. Woodson chose February for the initial weeklong celebration to honor the birth months of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.
It is important for us today to continue in this tradition of keeping our history alive while continuing to pave new paths. Take time out today to read African American newspapers, books by African American authors, and then share what you learn with someone else. In the words of Dr. Maya Angelou, “Won’t it be wonderful when Black history and Native American history and Jewish history and all of U.S. history is taught from one book. Just United States History!”
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Visit www.WendyGladney.com and www.forgivingforliving.org. Wendy is a coach, consultant and speaker. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wendy is featured on Radio Free 102.3 KJLH on Front Page with Dominique DiPrima Thursday Mornings @ 5:00am.