Huliah Lavender, Correspondent
As the month of February comes to an end, the time dedicated to celebrating African American culture does too. Black history month embodies the celebration of black voices and culture past or present. When celebrating this month, we initially think about the “Big 3”, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesman and leader in the Civil Rights Movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. He was important in making segregation come to an end.
Rosa Parks was an American activist in the Civil Rights Movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The United States Congress has honored her as “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.” She advocated for people of color to stand up for what they believe in and not back down to the racist endeavors of society.
Lastly, we focus on Harriet Tubman. She was the slave who made a way for other slaves to escape to freedom. She created and led the Underground Railroad which made a way for people to have better lives than they were given.
With all the information we absorb each year about these three figures, we seem to forget there are more people from our past who made a difference as well. Maya Angelou, for example, was a woman who used her trauma and childhood experience to build a voice for younger Black women to break out of their shells. She is one of the most famous and influential writers/ poets of the 21st century.
Ella Baker is one name that isn’t heard in Black history as often. She was alongside Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement. She developed a grassroots approach as an NAACP field secretary to gather and convince Black people of the group’s message that a society of individuals can and should exist without discrimination based on race. She never let her gender stop her from fighting alongside men for freedom. Baker taught young people that their spirit was essential to the movement. If they had the audacity to dream of a better, equal, and brighter tomorrow, alongside their participation in peaceful protests and stayed true to themselves, they would prosper.
Lastly, Frederick Douglass was a social reformer, abolitionist, and writer. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a national leader of the abolitionist movement in Massachusetts and New York, becoming famous for his oratory and incisive antislavery writings. He should be known because his voice rose from the horror of slavery to challenge the denial of Black humanity.
With all the past historical figures, there are many current leaders today that keep the Black power alive. There are few of the many influential African Americans today: Oprah Winfrey, Steve Harvey, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, and Amanda Gorman.
Black History Month was made to educate people about the past horrors people of color went through. While there is a lot of tragedy in Black history, the empowerment held within the Black community continues to become stronger with more people becoming alert in the culture.