February is Black History Month. In honor of the contributions African Americans have made to this country, we’ll explore the origins of Black History Month, highlight influential African Americans throughout history and provide a few ways to celebrate the month.
In the summer of 1915, Dr. Carter G. Woodson joined an exhibition in Chicago, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of emancipation. After witnessing the profound impact of the Chicago celebration, Dr. Woodson and other Black academics formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Nine years later, in partnership with Dr. Woodson’s fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, the Association created Negro Achievement Week. As organizations, schools and universities around the country embraced Negro Achievement Week, Black communities pushed local and federal governments to formalize a month-long celebration. In 1976, they succeeded, and President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month during the celebration of the US Bicentennial.
Black History Month is an excellent opportunity to reflect upon the challenges and accomplishments of some of history’s most prominent figures:
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for the legal equity of Black people in the 1950s and 1960s, and his leadership inspires racial justice movements to this day.
- Harriet Tubman was a critical force in the Underground Railroad. After a brutal beating from an overseer as a child, she developed epilepsy, a disability that never suppressed her nine-year efforts to convoy enslaved people to freedom.
- Fannie Lou Hamer was a lifelong civil rights activist who organized and joined grassroots movements in support of women’s rights and voting rights. She faced lifelong physical disabilities as a result of childhood polio. Check out a blog by Morgan Steward to learn more about Fannie Lou Hamer and her life.
To honor Black History Month and the contributions of African Americans throughout history, consider celebrating Black History Month 2023 by visiting a museum, like the Martin Luther King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Pay your respects to Dr. King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, at the reflecting pool, which is where their remains are buried. You can also visit Dr. King’s childhood home and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.
Some other things you can do in honor of African Americans and Black History Month:
- Donating to a non-profit like the NAACP or the ACLU
- Visiting a Black-owned business in your area
- Joining a community demonstration for civil rights
- Attending a lecture, exhibit or educational event exploring black history
This month, and all year long, Quantum Rehab is proud to celebrate the black community and uplift black voices as we continue to develop exciting new mobility technologies. If you’re looking for more insights from power chair users, check out our blog. Featuring everything from lifestyle tips to contributions from everyday power chair users.
 Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Origins of Black History Month. https://asalh.org/about-us/origins-of-black-history-month/
 The King Center. About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. https://thekingcenter.org/about-tkc/martin-luther-king-jr/
 University of Pittsburgh. disABLED Black History. https://www.diversity.pitt.edu/disabled-black-history
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