Afrikaans word of the week: ja-nee – literally “yes-no”, an expression of positive confirmation. Example : Dis warm vandag. (“It’s hot today”) : Ja-nee (“Indeed”)
You are sitting in a diner, not a vindictive bone in your body, but only the desire to have the same rights as everyone around you. You are participating in a peaceful protest and all of a sudden, the police come in and warn you to either get out of suffer the consequences. What will you do? Will you stand up for what you believe in and fight for your right and freedom or will you walk out the door and leave your people behind? No one deserves to be treated like that yet African- Americans had to suffer injustice but we will never forget what they did to build a better future for their families.
What started out as a “Negro History Week” in 1926 grew into a celebration and remembrance of the suffering, injustice, sacrifice and achievements of African-Americans. Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, in February 1970.
Six years later Black History Month was being celebrated all across the country in educational institutions, centers of Black culture and community centers, both great and small, when President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month, 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”.
Just because we dedicate a month of celebration and remembrance for African-American history doesn’t mean we forget about it the rest of the year. All of us know Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. When you hear the name Rosa Parks, you know what people are talking about; however, there are little known facts and people who might not have made headlines yet they fought for what they believed in. For example, many people believe that Rosa Parks was the first woman to refuse to give up her seat on the bus; however, many women before her did it including a fifteen-year old girl named Claudette Colvin. On March 2, 1955 she refused to move to the back seat. We all know the iconic cartoon character “Betty Boop”, but what we might not know is that she was inspired by the black jazz singer Esther Jones who performed around the 1920’s.
Montgomery College prides itself in involving the community and sharing culture, history and awareness. For the month of February they have several events from film screening to book club discussions. Be sure to check out the flyers with information below.
I leave you with a performance “Glory” by John Legend and Common at the Academy Awards from the movie soundtrack Selma.