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.
When I think of all that our country has been through historically, I am humbled by how far God has brought us since that autumn day in 1621, which is credited as the first Thanksgiving.
President Obama described him as a “hero” who “helped changed this country for the better.” The Rev. Jesse Jackson called him a “leader with strength, character.” NAACP Chairman Roslyn Brock said he “inspired a generation of civil rights leaders.” Teresa Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia, where he taught history for many years, called him a beloved retired professor who “shaped the course of history through his life and work.”
As the eyes of America watched the removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol July 10, I feel thankful for the Black church and the principled role that it played in bringing a community together at a time that could have led to even greater strife and turmoil.
This salute is extremely late. I don’t mean late for Memorial Day or even Black History Month. I mean this salute — to black soldiers who fought in the Civil War — is more than 150 years late. But so was America’s salute.
Can you imagine the looks on their faces in the audience when abolitionist Frederick Douglass, speaking at a commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, asked the question, “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July?”
A few months ago, I encouraged everyone to enjoy black history year round. Well, here’s a great opportunity now that the movie Selma is available on DVD.
Growing up in Philadelphia, I remember my father always stopping at the corner store for a copy of the Philadelphia Tribune, our black newspaper. It was my go-to source for school papers and other projects. You could always find it on the coffee table of our home and at the homes of many of our neighbors.
On Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, the Alabama State Police spared no activists — not even the women — on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. They, too, were knocked to the ground, trampled by horses and struck by batons, just like the men — all for standing for the rights of African Americans to vote.
The “Bloody Sunday” 50th anniversary march was an event that inspired people across America to stand for justice wherever injustice prevails. In that regard, among the greatest inspirations at the March 7 commemoration was 103-year-old Amelia Boynton Robinson, a foot soldier who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Search AARP Blogs