The first Negro History Week was celebrated in 1926. Founded by Black historian Carter G. Woodson, the “week” became Black History Month in 1976. Woodson said he would welcome the day when a separate Black history celebration was no longer necessary because his ultimate goal was a true history “devoid of national bias, race hate and religious prejudice.”
That didn’t happen. But every year at the beginning of our nation’s month-long annual celebration of more than 400 years of black influence upon American history, Black History Month presents a different theme to honor the accomplishments and examine the travails of African Americans who over the years have impacted the culture and the country in compelling and memorable ways.
For Black History Month 2023 the national theme is almost a call to action – Black Resistance. That theme is even more profoundly appropriate as we usher in the month of highlighting Black history and culture on the heels of the Tyre Nichols tragedy.
Resistance has to happen in number of arenas and be directed at discriminatory and oppressive practices on the part of all American institutions and individuals.
While many complain that Black History should not and cannot be reduced to a month-long observation, we at Real Times Media and our historic Black publications, including the Atlanta Daily World, the Atlanta Tribune, The Chicago Defender, the Michigan Chronicle and the New Pittsburgh Courier, submit that Black History is made every day. Just consider these achievements that have occurred at the onset of the national celebration and recognition of Black achievement:
The U.S. Senate only moments ago confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson‘s seat on the Supreme Court of the United States. Moments after Vice President Kamala Harris announced the Senate’s 53 to 47 votes to confirm the judge’s joining the SCOTUS, the senate floor erupted with jubilant cheers, while Republican opponents quietly left the floor.
Jackson, the 116th justice to be appointed to the court, is the first Black female Supreme Court Justice in the court’s 233-year history. Only two other Supreme Court Justices have been Black, Thurgood Marshall being the first and Clarence Thomas.
Jackson replaced retiring Supreme Court Justice
Raphael Warnock defeated the Republican challenger Herschel Walker to maintain his seat in the U.S. Senate on Dec. 6. Neither candidate received over 50 percent of the vote in early November causing a run-off.
Throughout the campaign, both candidates took political shots at each other in an attempt to sway voters a second time around. Warnock received support from President Barack Obama while Sen. Lindsey Graham campaigned Walker.
But in the end ot the very heated race, Georgia voters sided with Warnock who proved to be the better candidate.
“After a hard-fought campaign — or should I say campaigns — it is my honor to utter the four most powerful words ever spoken in a democracy: The people have spoken,” Warnock told supporters at his Election Night party at the Marriott in downtown Atlanta.
By winning, the Democrats now have a clear advantage over the Republicans in the U.S. Senate.
Jalen Hurts and Patrick Mahomes have made history. For the first time, two Black quarterbacks will start in the same Super Bowl. On Jan. 29, Hurts led the Philadelphia Eagles to a victory over the San Francisco 49ers to become NFC Champions. MaHomes led the Kansas Chiefs to a nail-bitting win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hurts will make his first appearance in the Super Bowl and this will be Mahomes’ third trip to the big game.
The historical moment shows how far the NFL has come in terms of diversity on the field. In 1987, Doug Williams became the first Black quarterback to win a Super Bowl after he led the Washington Redskins to a blow-out victory over the Denver Broncos in 1988.