To cap off my tribute to Black History month, I would like to share this video of the incomparable James Brown’s iconic black anthem, “Say it loud, I’m black and I’m proud!” This song lifted the spirits of many during a time of unrest and uncertainty.
I ran across this article in the International Business Times that I thought was interesting and I wanted to share it with you.
Wednesday kicked off the United States’ Black History Month, an annual observance honoring African-Americans and the roles they’ve played in the country throughout the past several centuries. Celebrations and activities are often tailored toward schoolchildren, but the lessons they learn about equality and diversity are universal.
“Events that occur during Black History Month bring awareness of the times, enabling us as Americans to celebrate each other based on character and the content of their hearts, not the color of their skin,” Tameika Culler Morris, co-chair of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Planning Committee at Southeast Missouri State University said in a news release. “We all have something positive to give, we just need to allow time for it to reveal itself.”
Black History Month started as Negro History Week in the 1920s. Carter G. Woodson, a historian and author, created the celebration and timed it to coincide with Frederick Douglass’ Feb. 14 birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s Feb. 12 birthday, according to TIME.
It eventually expanded into a monthlong observation.
Then-President Gerald Ford made Black History Month official in 1976. In his decree, he wrote that people should honor the contributions of black Americans to society. “In celebrating Black History Month, we can take satisfaction from this recent progress in the realization of the ideals envisioned by our Founding Fathers,” he said. “But, even more than this, we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
- The first black man to graduate from college was John Chavis in 1799. He later opened a private school, according to blackpast.org.
- The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863, but the 13th Amendment formally abolishing slavery wasn’t ratified until 1865. It read “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
- The NAACP was founded Feb. 12, 1909. Its current CEO is Cornell William Brooks.
- The first African-American explorer to go to the North Pole was Matthew Henson, who codiscovered it alongside Robert Peary in 1909.
- The United Kingdom also has a Black History Month, but it takes place in October.
- There have been 10 African-American senators: Hiram Revels, Blance K. Bruce, Edward Brooke, Carol Moseley Braun, Barack Obama, Roland Burris, Tim Scott, William “Mo” Cowan, Cory A. Booker and Kamala Harris, according to the Senate website.
The following fact can be found on: http://www.pbs.org/black-culture
- Most people think of Rosa Parks as the first person to refuse to give up their seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. There were actually several women who came before her; one of whom was Claudette Colvin.
- Inoculation was introduced to America by a slave.Few details are known about the birth of Onesimus, but it is assumed he was born in Africa in the late seventeenth century before eventually landing in Boston. One of a thousand people of African descent living in the Massachusetts colony, Onesimus was a gift to the Puritan church minister Cotton Mather from his congregation in 1706.Onesimus told Mather about the centuries old tradition of inoculation practiced in Africa. By extracting the material from an infected person and scratching it into the skin of an uninfected person, you could deliberately introduce smallpox to the healthy individual making them immune. Considered extremely dangerous at the time, Cotton Mather convinced Dr. Zabdiel Boylston to experiment with the procedure when a smallpox epidemic hit Boston in 1721 and over 240 people were inoculated. Opposed politically, religiously and medically in the United States and abroad, public reaction to the experiment put Mather and Boylston’s lives in danger despite records indicating that only 2% of patients requesting inoculation died compared to the 15% of people not inoculated who contracted smallpox.Onesimus’ traditional African practice was used to inoculate American soldiers during the Revolutionary War and introduced the concept of inoculation to the United States.
- The earliest recorded protest against slavery was by the Quakers in 1688.Quakers, also known as “The Society of Friends,” have a long history of abolition. But it was four Pennsylvania Friends from Germantown who wrote the initial protest in the 17th century. They saw the slave trade as a grave injustice against their fellow man and used the Golden Rule to argue against such inhumane treatment; regardless of skin color, “we should do unto others as we would have done onto ourselves.” In their protest they stated, “Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse towards us, then if men should robb or steal us away, & sell us for slaves to strange Countries, separating housband from their wife and children….”Their protest against slavery and human trafficking was presented at a “Monthly Meeting at Dublin” in Philadelphia. The Dublin Monthly Meeting reviewed the protest but sent it to the Quarterly Meeting, feeling it to be too serious an issue for their own meeting to decide. The four Friends continued their efforts and presented at the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, but it wasn’t until 88 years later that the Society of Friends officially denounced slavery.Over the centuries, this rare document has been considered lost twice. Most recently it was rediscovered in 2005 and is now at Haverford College Special Collections.
- One in four cowboys was Black, despite the stories told in popular books and movies.In fact, it’s believed that the real “Lone Ranger” was inspired by an African American man named Bass Reeves. Reeves had been born a slave but escaped West during the Civil War where he lived in what was then known as Indian Territory. He eventually became a Deputy U.S. Marshal, was a master of disguise, an expert marksman, had a Native American companion, and rode a silver horse. His story was not unique however.In the 19th century, the Wild West drew enslaved Blacks with the hope of freedom and wages. When the Civil War ended, freedmen came West with the hope of a better life where the demand for skilled labor was high. These African Americans made up at least a quarter of the legendary cowboys who lived dangerous lives facing weather, rattlesnakes, and outlaws while they slept under the stars driving cattle herds to market.While there was little formal segregation in frontier towns and a great deal of personal freedom, Black cowboys were often expected to do more of the work and the roughest jobs compared to their white counterparts. Loyalty did develop between the cowboys on a drive, but the Black cowboys were typically responsible for breaking the horses and being the first ones to cross flooded streams during cattle drives. In fact, it is believed that the term “cowboy” originated as a derogatory term used to describe Black “cowhands.”
- Of the 12.5 million Africans shipped to the New World during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, fewer than 388,000 arrived in the United States.
In the late 15th century, the advancement of seafaring technologies created a new Atlantic that would change the world forever. As ships began connecting West Africa with Europe and the Americas, new fortunes were sought and native populations were decimated. With the native labor force dwindling and demand for plantation and mining labor growing, the transatlantic slave trade began.
The Transatlantic Slave Trade was underway from 1500-1866, shipping more than 12 million African slaves across the world. Of those slaves, only 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage. Over 400 years, the majority of slaves (4.9 million) found their way to Brazil where they suffered incredibly high mortality rates due to terrible working conditions. Brazil was also the last country to ban slavery in 1888.
By the time the United States became involved in the slave trade, it had been underway for two hundred years. The majority of its 388,000 slaves arrived between 1700 and 1866, representing a much smaller percentage than most Americans realize.
- If you are in need of prayer (Ephesians 6:18), please click “Prayer Request.” I would love to pray for you.