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Reflecting on 2023 Black History Month

Learning, Celebrating, and Standing in Greater Solidarity

Written by HRCap, Inc.

February 23, 2023

Learning the History and Origin

Black History Month honors and celebrates the contributions and sacrifices of African Americans who have been integral to shaping the U.S.

Carter G. Woodson, the “father of Black history,” introduced it in February 1926 as “Negro History Week” to designate a time to promote and educate people about Black history and culture. Woodson chose the second week of February because it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, who were integral to the emancipation and abolition movement.

Though “Negro History Week” was not yet recognized by the government, many academic institutions and communities celebrated it by organizing local celebrations, establishing history clubs, and hosting lectures on Black history. Even mayors across the country began to recognize “Negro History Week” by issuing annual proclamations, and it later changed into Black History Month.

Then in 1976, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month, which has been celebrated ever since.

Celebrating African American Leaders

Through her successful business of hair care products, Madam CJ Walker became the first female self-made millionaire in America. She used her wealth to support various causes, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the YMCA.

Daymond John is the founder of the FUBU fashion brand and costar of ABC’s Emmy Award-winning Shark Tank. He has won a number of awards, such as the Congressional Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship. With his expertise, he has given back to students in low-income areas by teaching them the value of entrepreneurship.

Jesse Owens won four gold medals and broke two world records in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. He became an international sports icon and a civil rights advocate, paving the way for future generations of athletes.

With 23 Grand Slam singles titles to her name, Serena Williams is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players ever. In addition to her on-court success, Williams is known for her activism and advocacy on issues such as racial and gender equality.

Highlighting Black and Asian Racial Solidarity

Despite the differences between African American and Asian American races and history, both races have stood in solidarity in fighting against discrimination and fighting for justice.

Frederick Douglass, an African American abolitionist, strongly advocated for Chinese and Japanese Immigration in 1869. Another example of Black and Asian racial solidarity is the collective Black and Japanese American activism against The Emergency Detention Act, also known as the McCarran Internal Security Act of 1950, which allowed for the imprisonment of suspected saboteurs without the Constitutional steps required for detaining someone. Due to the joint activism efforts, Congress later repealed the act.

Even more recently, in 2020, Asian Americans stood in solidarity with African Americans by supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, whether by raising awareness or providing resources on becoming an effective ally.

As history has shown us, no matter what racial or cultural background we come from, we can make a conscious effort to become more inclusive and unified to improve the country that we live in and work towards a better future. Whether implementing DEI policies, creating diverse teams, or fighting for each other’s rights, let’s continue recognizing and supporting all races and ethnicities in our respective communities.

Source: CNN, History, NPR


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