Black History Month time for reflection, celebration

More than 100 years ago, historian Carter G. Woodsen and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The organization was dedicated to promoting the achievements of black Americans and people of African descent.

In 1926, the group sponsored “National Negro History Week” during the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Out of the event grew a nationwide movement to organize celebrations of African-American history. Starting with annual proclamations from mayors across the country, Negro History Week eventually grew into Black History Month. President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, with a call to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Still, each February is a time to reflect on the accomplishments, influences and contributions of African-Americans on our culture, economy and many other aspects of our society.

This year, Black History Month is also a time to honor, reflect and celebrate.

Black History Month is a time to reflect on the sacrifices made by the men and women who offered themselves in service of our country.

This year’s theme is “African-Americans in Times of War.” It is a concept which spans from the Revolutionary War to today as we face the “War on Terrorism.”

These men and women often fought to ensure the freedoms of a nation where they were not always free. Even when they were free, they did not enjoy equal freedoms and right. And still today, they fight for a country where race relations are becoming increasingly complicated.

We salute all those who have answered the call to defend our nation. Whether black or white, man or woman, we cannot express enough gratitude to these individuals.

We wish we didn’t need Black History Monty to recognize these accomplishments as this really is simply American history, but the reality is we do. So we embrace this fully.

We hope this month you will take a moment to not only thank an African-American veteran or soldier, but to also talk to them about their unique experience serving their country.