“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”
—Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American female astronaut
The most frustrating thing anyone can hear this month is, "What is Black History Month?" Like many things, not everyone is educated on the importance and the reasons for having a black history month. In recent years there has been unneeded hate towards this idea. I will say this as bluntly as I can EVERY MONTH
Black History Month started by Carter G. Woodson in 1926 as "Negro History Week." It wasn't changed to a full month until the year 1976. Carter G. Woodson was a historian who dedicated his career to the field of African American history and lobbied extensively to establish black history month as a nationwide institution. Focusing on providing scholarly journals to schools as a tool to provide education on African American history.
The Iconic cartoon character Betty Boop was inspired by a black jazz singer Esther Jones, otherwise known as Baby Esther. Her trademark vocal style using "boops" and other childlike scat sounds. Although Esther Jone's baby style was one of the first like that other artist used her sound as inspiration which then led to the creation of the popular cartoon icon.
Rosa Parks wasn't the first woman who refused her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. March 2, 1955, a fifteen-year-old girl Claudette Colvin refused her seat. She like Rosa Parks was arrested and thrown in jail, as well as being one of four girls to challenge the segregation law in court. Browder vs. Gayle being the court case that overturned bus segregation laws. Due to Rosa Parks being an adult woman at the time as well as the secretary of the NACCP was believed to be a better icon for the movement than a teenage girl.
It's completely important to learn more this month about black history because it isn't just specifically black history, but history in general. If it weren't for many black inventors such as Dr. Shirley Jackson we wouldn't have had major developments in the creation of caller ID, touchtone telephones, or portable fax. Lewis Latimer who created the carbon filament which is an important component in making lightbulbs work. Otis Boykin who created pacemakers and the development of IBM computers.
There are still so many more influential African American inventors, historians, authors, etc. who have crafted America to how it is today. I urge you to further your education into the importance of this month and why african american history is so vital to our nation.
“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute." —Thurgood Marshall, first African American U.S. Supreme Court member