President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month in 1976, during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial. He urged Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Over time schools began highlighting the accomplishments of Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver. Over time, there have been many efforts to bring little known black history facts to light in order to showcase the countless contributions black people have made in a wide variety of fields to advance humanity.
This year, the NAACP is encouraging us to keep an eye toward present and future black history makers while we pay homage to past achievements. It is imperative to note that black history IS American history and while we highlight it in February, we should remember it year-round. We can begin by normalizing black excellence and continuing efforts to ensure that being young, gifted and black becomes more than a song. That song becomes a realized state when we do the work that produces opportunities for diverse candidates, engage in conversations that shifts the thinking within our sphere of influence and boldly shine a spotlight on the collective efforts that are advancing more inclusive policies and practices.
Black history is an evolving and beautiful testament to the mosaic that is America. The Fauquier County NAACP Branch is committed to being a beacon of hope, a catalyst for change, and a champion for all people. We celebrate black history past, present and beyond!
by Danielle Ellis