“You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas” -- Shirley Chisholm, The first black woman elected to the US Congress.
The precursor to Black History month (which was one week long) dates back to the 1926 and was founded by Carter Woodson, an American historian. President Gerald Ford was the first president to recognize Black History Month in 1976 to enable people to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” President Reagan’s 1981 Black History Month proclamation stated that “understanding the history of black Americans is a key to understanding the strength of our nation.” And President Obama’s 2015 proclamation reminded us that we must continue to fight for racial justice, “Brave Americans did not struggle and sacrifice to secure fundamental rights for themselves and others only to see those rights denied to their children and grandchildren.”
(We will skip describing how Trump and his family botched Black History Month, but you can read about that here and here.)
This year, the theme for Black History Month is “African Americans in Times of War”. That’s fitting because all-of-us are currently fighting for our democracy, which Trump is waging a daily war on. Black women are on the front lines of our battles, which is why all-of-us must begin this week by recognizing and honoring them.