Every year during the month of February, the nation celebrates Black History Month by honoring the struggles and triumphs of African Americans as well as recognizing their central role in U.S. history. In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a noted scholar, and historian launched “Negro History Week.” This observance evolved into a month-long celebration in 1976 and later became recognized as National African American History Month, commonly referred to as Black History Month.
This year’s theme for Black History Month is, “Black Health and Wellness,” which examines and acknowledges the work of Black scholars and medical practitioners to better understand what has been done and what is currently being done to counter the grave deficiencies in healthcare for Black people. This theme also explores the stark contrast between the treatment of Black people and other groups in America.
As part of FERC’s Black History Month activities, the AAERG will be hosting a virtual panel discussion focused on the impact of COVID-19 on the black community with Licensed Clinical Social Workers Julian R. Harris and Tiffaney Mills on Wednesday, February 23, 2022. Also, throughout February, the AAERG, in collaboration with the Office of the Executive Director, will be sharing the inspiring stories of several FERC Senior Leaders on how they were able to navigate social barriers that prevent minority advancement with an organization.
African American Facts: Did You Know?
- Black History began as "Negro History Week" in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American schol- ar, historian, educator, and publisher.
- Famous Protestors and Activists: While Rosa Parks is credited with helping to spark the civil rights move- ment when she refused to give up her public bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955— inspiring the Montgomery Bus Boycott—the lesser-known Claudette Colvin was arrested nine months prior for not giving up her bus seat to white passengers.
- First African American to go to Space: In 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to go to space, boarding the space shuttle Endeavour.
- First African American Billionaire: The first African American billionaire was Robert Johnson. He became a billionaire when he sold his founded cable station, Black Entertainment Television (BET) in 2001.
- First African American Female Billionaire: The first African American female black billionaire was Orpah Gail Winfrey and she was the only black billionaire from 2004 to 2006.
- First African American President: In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American President of tthe United States.
- First African American Vice President: In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first woman of African or Asian descent to become Vice President of the United States.
"Lift Every Voice and Sing"
The Black National Anthem
Lift ev'ry voice and sing, 'til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty; let our rejoicing rise
High as the list'ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us, sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on 'til victory is won. Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered,
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
'Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast. God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way; thou who has by thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our god, where we met thee, lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee; shadowed beneath thy hand,
May we forever stand, true to our god,
True to our native land.
By James Weldon Johnson, NAACP Leader
Written as poem and put to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. First performance by 500 school children in their hometown of Jacksonville, FL to Celebrate Abraham Lincoln's Birthday