In 1926, Academic and Professor Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History created Negro History Week, in efforts to teach students about contributions made by African Americans.
Forty-four years later, 4 students from Kent State University proposed to extend their Negro History Week celebration from one week to a month, and in 1976 as part of the United States Bicentennial, President Gerald Ford and the US government formally recognized the expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month.
This year, in honor of Black History Month, Inglewood elected officials offered insights about the annual celebration of African American achievement throughout American history.
Councilman George Dotson - District 1
“We have to continue to celebrate black history, so that our kids will know our history. It’s not only for us, black history helps other races of people. We should also learn some of the history of the Hispanics or the Asian Americans, because it bonds us together as one people. If you don’t understand someone, then you will never be able to work with them, not truly work with them, so you have to understand where people come from.”
Councilman Alex Padilla - District 2
“It’s an opportunity for us to recognize the black leadership we have here in our community, so that our younger generation of African American youth will have mentors to look up to, mentors that can come out and help them become contributing citizens to our community.”
Councilman Eloy Morales - District 3
“In a community like ours it takes on a sense of pride, which it should. More importantly, it opens conversation. I can tell you that my kids, they come in and they celebrate MLK Day and President’s Day. The fact is that it’s Black History Month, and what that offers us is an opportunity to open up and really teach them what we’ve learned. To understand the value of MLK Day or Black History Month, we should just imagine that we have neither of them. Imagine going a whole year, where those conversations are never sparked and those reminders are never there. How would we address the issues?
Councilman Ralph Franklin - District 4
“I go back and I reflect back in the days of Harriet Tubman, who was a lady that was willing to fight for our freedom and bring us from the South to the North, identifying that there were multiethnic groups that were willing to embrace us, to treat us as humans and not as animals. We’re glad to have Thurgood Marshall, our first African American Supreme Court Justice, and over the years we’ve had a number of African Americans who’ve been pillars in our community to say that yes, equality is here today.”
Mayor James T. Butts
“We’re a multicultural community and our country is definitely very diverse, but, celebrating black history is not meant to divide us and set us apart, it’s to allow us to appreciate and magnify our sense of self-worth and self-determination, to be a better component of this melting pot that is America.
To watch the short documentary “Inglewood Honors Black History Month,” like the City of Inglewood Facebook Page. While you’re there, go ahead and like the Inglewood Today Facebook Page as well.