This February, Celebrate African American History Month

Prior to 1925, little information could be found in the US about African American history. A widely held belief existed that African Americans had made little contribution to US society.

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson spearheaded the first Negro History Week to raise awareness. Fifty years later, the week was expanded to a month. February was selected because of the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two individuals who dramatically affected the lives of African Americans.

Spotlight One – “Letter from Birmingham Jail”

Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is an open letter written on April 16, 1963, by Martin Luther King, Jr. The letter defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racial discrimination, arguing that people have a moral responsibility to break unjust laws. After an early setback, it enjoyed widespread publication and became a key text for the American civil rights movement of the early 1960s.  There is also a film of this reading starring community leaders of Columbus, Ohio and educators and leaders of The Ohio State University produced by the Kirwan Institute.

Spotlight Two – A Day in the Life: Blacks at the Cutting Edge of Innovation

For three weeks in December 2013, NPR’s Tell Me More used Twitter to recognize black innovators in technology by sharing a day in the life of noted African-American entrepreneurs and techies using the hashtag #NPRBlacksinTech. The conversation included questions from young students, and additional insights.

You can read about the profiled entrepreneurs, review the story, and read the tweets at NPR Blacks In Tech.

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