Written by Charmaine Bruce
Black History Month (BHM), observed annually during the month of February in North America, United Kingdom and Netherlands, is a time to recognize significant historical events and people of African descent. Originating in the United States, BHM (also known as "African-American History Month"), is derived from "Negro History Week", which was proclaimed the second week in February 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. This week served primarily to teach the history of black Americans in the nation's public schools. "Black History Month" was proposed in 1969 and first celebrated at Kent State University in 1970.
Black History Month was initiated in Canada by the Ontario Black History Society and officially recognized in February 1995 after a motion was put forth in the House of Commons by Jean Augustine (first African-Canadian to be elected to Canada's House of Commons in 1993), who represented the Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding in Ontario. It was officially recognized in the Senate in 2008, after unanimous approval.
Along with remembering the history, I enjoy celebrating and honouring the successes of Blacks during the month of February each year. I am reminded of various black leaders, all well known for their accomplishments in diverse areas: Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Marley, Carole Ann Alfred, Mathieu Da Costa, Shelley-Ann Brown and Marci Ien, to name just a few.
Former US President Barack Obama and Former First- Lady Michelle Obama and just elected US Vice-President Kamala Harris have exhibited poise and grace and have shown little black boys and girls all over the world that they CAN achieve absolutely ANYTHING they put their minds to!
Photos of several of these leaders line the walls in my family home (as if they are distant cousins) and will forever have a place in our hearts!
As a people, we have had and continue to have many struggles in society. Recently, people from around the world have had a bird's eye view of some of those injustices we face, even in the 21st century. We have and will continue to fight for our lives. My hope is that eventually, we will have more achievements to celebrate than struggles to overcome.