Every February, Americans celebrate Black History Month. During this time, we focus on the contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout our nation’s history. The celebration began in 1926, when Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson thought this history was too important to contain in small academic circles. He believed his role was to use black history and culture as a tool to create a positive impact in the struggle for racial equality.
The first celebration was only one week, but the response was overwhelming. Teachers wanted materials for their students, people created clubs and progressive members of other races endorsed the effort. By the time of Woodson’s death in 1950, this historical week had become a fundamental part of African American life. In 1976, at America’s bicentennial, President Gerald R. Ford expanded the celebration to a full month, stating that the country needed to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of African Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
The celebration is now recognized both nationally and worldwide. Many organizations, cities, states and countries host events to shine a light on the rich culture and memorable figures of African American history.
February has become a time for reflection, open dialogue, education and shared advocacy initiatives. At Publix, we value and appreciate the diversity of our associates and the unique perspectives they bring.
How well do you know your history?
Match up the important milestones in African American history with the year they occurred. Check your answers below.
a. Phylicia Rashad wins Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play (“A Raisin in the Sun”).
b. Barack Obama becomes the 44th president of the U.S.
c. Bessie Coleman becomes the first female African American aviation pilot.
d. Mary Jane Patterson is the first African American woman to earn a bachelor’s degree.
e. Hattie McDaniel wins Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (“Gone With the Wind”).
f. Martin Luther King Jr. is Time Magazine’s Man of the Year.
g. Dr. Mae Jemison becomes the first African American female astronaut.
h. Toni Morrison wins the Nobel Prize for Literature.
i. Condoleezza Rice becomes Secretary of State.
Answer key is below.