Celebrating African American History
Please join the BMCC Library as we celebrate National African American History Month for the month of February. Come by and visit our displays from the front entrance, all the way through to the back of the library by our Children’s area with a special display dedicated to a most celebrated woman: Ruby Bridges. Click here to see her story and more!
"On a November morning in 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges, accompanied by U.S. federal marshals, made her way to the New Orleans' William Frantz Elementary School for her first day of first grade. Amid jeers from an angry white mob, Bridges, with a bow in her hair and carrying a lunch box, walked unwittingly into history. "I thought it was Mardi Gras," she would later say of that morning, "I had no idea it was all about me." (From Women in World History) Today, Ruby Bridges Hall tours the country as an inspirational speaker, is the founder of the Ruby Bridges Foundation against racism, and has volunteered at William Frantz Elementary School -- the same school where she and other courageous students began making history more than 50 years ago.
On February first, President Obama declared February 2011 the 35th National African American History Month with the following words:
Presidential Proclamation: National African American History Month, 2011
"The great abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass once told us, 'If there is no struggle, there is no progress.' Progress in America has not come easily, but has resulted from the collective efforts of generations. For centuries, African American men and women have persevered to enrich our national life and bend the arc of history toward justice. From resolute Revolutionary War soldiers fighting for liberty to the hardworking students of today reaching for horizons their ancestors could only have imagined, African Americans have strengthened our Nation by leading reforms, overcoming obstacles, and breaking down barriers. During National African American History Month, we celebrate the vast contributions of African Americans to our Nation's history and identity." Read the complete proclamation and more official presidential information at whitehouse.gov.
This national recognition and celebration of African American History was the brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson, who launched Negro History Week in 1926. "The response was overwhelming: Black history clubs sprang up; teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils; and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort." (From African American History Month.org)
Carter Woodson overcame poverty and prejudice to become an outstanding educator and historian. Read more about him at Credo Reference.
Want to learn more about African American history? Check out The African American Experience for massive amounts of information on this and many other aspects of African American History.