Nationally since 1976, February has been Black History Month. While it’s commendable to set aside time to celebrate African-Americans’ contributions to this country, every month is Black History Month.
Truth be told, the wealth of this nation was built on the backs of African slaves, so a month is not enough. The celebration of Black History Month is a necessary corrective to the exclusive and misrepresentation of blacks in American history. It also serves as affirmation of a bold and beautiful culture passed down from one generation to the next.
Conversations about the achievements of African-Americans usually are dominated by the achievements of black men. While it’s been difficult for black men, the road is rougher for black women.
The United States is a very patriarchal nation. This is evident by the Declaration of Independence that says, in part, “All men are created equal ...”
Black women have to deal with the “double whammy” of being black and female. The legal rights of both groups have been slow developing. Women’s right to vote wasn’t ratified until 1920, and the Voting Rights Act -- which aimed to overcome the barriers at the state and local levels preventing African-Americans from voting -- was signed in 1965.
Through the adversity of inequality, with relentless strength and perseverance, women of color have accomplished unbelievable heights. They led slaves to freedom; became self-made millionaires, astronauts, judges, lawyers, super models, tennis world champions, Olympic gold medalists, teachers, professors, senators, and the First Lady of the United States of America.
Black women: I appreciate and salute you.
I’m Joe Mitchell, and this is my perspective.