Lack History Month is one of

the most widely-celebrated of federal months. It was originally established in 1926 as Negro History Week by noted African-Ameri­can author and Harvard University scholar, Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Dr. Woodson’s hope was that this special observance would remind all Americans of their ethnic roots, and that the commemoration would increase mutual respect. In 1976 the celebration was expanded to include the entire month, and it became known as Black History Month, also called African American History Month. The month of February was chosen since it contains the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. Lincoln is honored because of the Emancipation Proclamation (see page 16) that freed the slaves, and Douglas is honored as one of the most influential moral leaders, orators, and authors of American history.

One aim of Black History Month is to expose the harmful effects of racial prejudice; another is to recog­nize significant contributions made by people with Af­rican heritage, including artists, musicians, scientists, political figures, educators, and athletes. During Feb­ruary, cities, communities, and educational establish­ments feature speakers and community events, often focusing on the Civil Rights Movement. In classrooms, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King (see page 7) is commonly a part of the curriculum. Dr. King focused his energy on organizing peaceful protest demonstra­tions and marches, mostly in the American southern states. He led the great march on Washington, D. C. in 1963 where he gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech (see page 9). Dr. King advocated a non-violent approach to social change following the philosophy of

Mohandas Gandhi. Another community activist whose life is often a part of school curricula is Rosa Parks (see pages 7-8 ). In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to sur­render her seat on the bus to a white passenger. By forcing the police to remove her, and then arrest and imprison her, she brought national attention to the civil rights movement. This incident later became a test case for repealing segregation laws.

Glossary

noted: adj. important root(s): n. origin

mutual: adj. two or more people feeling the same thing or doing the same thing to each other orator(s): n. a person who gives skillful or effective public speeches

expose: v. to uncover; to allow to be seen

feature: v. to include as a special item

activist: n. a person who actively works for a political

party or for political change

surrender: v. to give up

repeal(ing): v. to make a law no longer have any legal force

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Romualdo Pacheco

 

Rita Morena

 

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David Farragut

 

Recognition Months

 

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