Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans. It's a time for recognizing the impact African Americans have made in U.S. history. First brainstormed by noted historian Carter G. Woodson, it was originally called "Negro History Week." The week was chosen to occur during the birthday of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Doublass on February 14th. Both these dates had been celebrated together by Black communities since the late 19th century.
As part of the United States Bicentennial in 1976, Negro History Week was officially expandedby President Gerald Ford as February becoming Black History Month. President Ford urged Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." Other countries around the world devote a month to celebrate black history, including Canada and the United Kingdom.
The Roselle Public Library is honoring Black History Month by displaying books based on the lives of famous African Americans.
Find out more about Mae Jemison, the first female African-American astronaut. She was born in Alabama, but considers Chicago, Illinois her home. After graduating from Stanford University, Mae became a medical doctor and joined the Peace Corps working overseas in Liberia and Sierra Leone. In 1983 she applied to the NASA program and became the first female African-American to become an astronaut and go into space. She is a doctor, a dance, and astronaut and holds 9 doctorate degrees in humanities, science and engineering. Now that's impressive no matter what race or gender you are! Find out more about her by checking out her bibliography and watching the Mae Jemison interview.
George Washington Carver led an impressive life. Born during the time of slavery, he went on to become one of the most prominent scientists and inventors of his time, as well as a teacher at the Tuskegee Institute. Did you know that Carver developed over 100 products using just one major crop - the peanut? He convinced farmers in the South to rotate their cotton crops by planting peanuts and soybeans in order to help the soil regain nutrients need to continue growing cotton.
There are also many great African American authors. Rita Williams-Garcia is just one of many. She has written many award winning books such as the Newbery Honor novel, One Crazy Summer
, which turned out to the winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. The sequel, P.S. Be Eleven,
also won the Coretta Scott King Award. Check out her books for children in middle school.
So come and learn more about people who have made a wonderful contribution to our American society.
George Washington Carver
Labels: Black History Month