Friday marked the beginning of Black History Month in the United States. The month-long event devoted to celebrating black history developed out of an event known as “Negro History Week”, which was considered the brainchild of Carter G. Woodson.
According to history.com, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month since 1976. Other countries that devote a month to celebrate the holiday includes Canada and the United Kingdom.
One name that comes to mind when people think of Black History Month is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King is most notably remembered for his “turn the other cheek” philosophy, which helped direct his peaceful march on Washington D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963.
According to infoplease.com, 250,000 people attended the demonstration. It was during this march where King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. At age 35, King became the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize.
King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 while standing on the balcony of his motel room in Memphis, Tenn.
Another familiar name in black history is Malcolm X (Malcolm Little). Malcolm X was an avid black Muslim. Malcolm X was eventually appointed as a minister and national spokesman for the Nation of Islam.
Though his philosophy differed from that of King, Malcolm X was still a staple in the Civil Rights Movement. After leaving the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965 while he was speaking in the Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom. According to malcolmx.com, his assassins were all members of the Nation of Islam.
Black History Month goes far beyond just politics and the Civil Rights Movement. It also has a place in sports history as well.
Jackie Robinson was known as one of the pioneers of racial integration in sports. Robinson, who played one season in the Negro Baseball League in 1945, became the first black baseball player in the Major Leagues since 1889.
Robinson won National League Rookie of the Year when he compiled 12 home runs, 29 steals and a .297 batting average. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
The aforementioned African Americans are just a few that showed importance in United States history. Others include: Rosa Parks, George Washington Carver, Bessie Smith, Muhammad Ali, James Meredith, W.E.B. Du Bois and many more.
Information for this article was obtained from history.com, malcolmx.com, jackierobinson.com, infoplease.com and biography.com.
Anthony Cloud can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 208.