Hispanics and African Americans — Together We Have Made the Nation Better

Last year, the organization that founded Black History Month, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), celebrated its centennial year. From 1915 to the present, this group has documented the contributions that black people have made to the incredible history and legacy of the United States. Visit AARP Black Community » But as much as we honor the people and events that brought African Americans from slavery to freedom, there are yet other ethnic groups …

Walking Through a Year of Black History

It’s one thing to celebrate Black History Month. But when the organization founded by the father of Black history kicks off its 100th anniversary with an issues forum at the White House, led by America’s first Black president, that’s a Black history moment worth noting. That was the occasion on Feb. 11 as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) had a celebratory Black History Month forum at the White House. As panelists discussed the …

During Black History Month, Experience the Joy of Self-Education

One of my greatest joys over the past couple of years has been engaging in conversations with authors as host of AARP’s Black Community Book Club. From Nikki Giovanni to Terri McMillan to Russell Simmons to Leonard Pitts Jr., it’s been like conversing with living history. In reading these authors’ books and talking with them, it occurs to me how invaluable it is to delve into the knowledge and gifts of people who are enhancing the lives of others. Whether …

Cooking Up Justice With Bryant Terry

Chef and author Bryant Terry says that being a food justice activist could mean lots of things – for example, fighting for small family farmers or supporting major reform of national agriculture policies. But for Terry, author of cookbooks like Vegan Soul Kitchen and The Inspired Vegetarian, activism starts on the plate and centers on health: “My specific focus, for over a decade now, has been to look at the many ways in which people – particularly living in cities, …

Clarence Mitchell: Secret Weapon in the Fight for Civil Rights

Read about the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which marks its golden jubilee this July, and you’ll learn about the high-profile personalities in Congress and the White House who battled during this stretch of our country’s faltering march toward fair treatment for all citizens. But you’re less likely to hear about key players behind the scenes, even during Black History Month. Meet Clarence Mitchell. Heading the NAACP office in Washington in the heart of the civil rights era, Mitchell …

T. Thomas Fortune: He Paved the Way for Civil Rights Organizers

W.E.B. Du Bois. Mary McLeod Bethune. Stokely Carmichael. Malcolm X. Martin Luther King Jr. These are names of civil rights leaders you’re likely to hear during Black History Month. But here’s one you may not: T. Thomas Fortune. You might say that Fortune was the forefather of civil rights organizers. In 1890, he founded the National Afro-American League, the precursor to a host of groups, including today’s powerful National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Fortune was born …