Black History Month

by Tonya Teichert, AIWC Frankfurt Taunus Rhein-Main

Do you know how Black History Month came to be? Who started it?<a href=""> Vectors by Vecteezy</a>

Do you know who the first African American was to make an official speech in the House of Representatives?

How about the name of the first African American woman to become a Rear Admiral in the US Navy?

Perhaps you know who invented the ice cream scooper or the spark plug?

Maybe you know when the Negro Baseball League was founded or who the first Black student to attend the University of Alabama was?

Do you know if Black History Month is celebrated in the UK? If so, when?

I know it has been a long time since we were in school, but would it surprise you to know that many of these things are never actually taught in school? As a Black woman, I spent my entire life not knowing these things!

Black History Month is upon us, and a rather profound thought occurred to me: when we talk about Black history, watch films or listen to old tattered speeches, the predominant focus is always on the men who held leadership positions in the civil rights movement, simply because... well, they were men. The perception has always been that they did all of the heavy lifting while the women answered phones, typed letters and fetched coffee. Now, don’t get me wrong, they did the work, but so did countless women who have been subjugated to sit in the back of the “Movement Bus” with only a few garnering the attention and respect they deserve.

So this year, I am going to highlight the plethora of badass, strong, fearless warriors who have been central to so many historical moments as well as those who are making Black history now. Black women. Don’t worry, the men will have a place – but this year, they get to sit in the back of the bus!

Every year there is a general theme for Black History Month (bet you didn’t know that huh? – Neither did I!!), and this year the theme is “African Americans and the Vote.” This year is also the centennial anniversary of the 15th Amendment and the sesquicentennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Black women and men played a crucial role in the passage of both of these amendments. Given that this is an election year, and there has been increased attention focused on Black/People of Color (BPOC) turning out to vote – and equally sinister efforts to prevent us from voting – it seemed like a good opportunity to celebrate Black History in all its forms.

Throughout February, I will be sharing a Black History Month 2020 Special Edition that is chock full of information, resources, articles, lesson plans, book, movie and podcast recommendations, as well as anti-racism resources. There is more than enough information to keep you busy throughout the month and year! More importantly, I hope that the information will provide you with a solid foundation to continue learning about Black history and how it created our past and shapes our future.

After all, Black history is American history. Black history is OUR history.

Black History Month content is now live my website! (Please note that this is a private website; the views expressed there do not necessarily represent the views of FAWCO, its board or membership.)


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