Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Jackie Robinson. When the term ‘Black History Month’ comes to mind, these are a few of the names that most people think of. Growing up in the Deep South, Black History Month meant celebrating the people who most publicly advocated for civil rights and championed equality (i.e. the “Big Names” in African American History). But what about the African American pioneers that no one knows about? Or the modern day African American heroes that go unrecognized? For example, how many people know that Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. was the first African American to walk on the moon? Or that Azie Taylor Morton was the first and only African American to hold the position of Treasurer of the United States of America? These are the types of African American heroes that fall through the cracks and are not properly recognized when February rolls around. Sure we say that Black History Month honors all African American achievements, but how many of these achievements do we really know about? I mean no disrespect to the household names such as King and Parks. They did a great service to African Americans and deserve to be held in the highest esteem. However, there are so many more African American achievers that are not being honored at all. So, for this Black History Month, I challenge you to research one little known African American hero, past or present, per day. You’ll be amazed at how much African Americans have done and you will come to deeper understanding and appreciation of Black History Month.
Class of 2016