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Posts Tagged ‘African American history’

SIRS Discoverer Spotlight: Black History Month

Americans, both white and black, marching from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, Ala., in March 1965, in an effort to guarantee voting rights for all Americans. <br \> by James H. Karales, Library of Congress, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

Americans, both white and black, marching from Selma, Ala., to Montgomery, Ala., in March 1965, in an effort to guarantee voting rights for all Americans.
by James H. Karales, Library of Congress, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

February is Black History Month. It’s a perfect time to celebrate African-American heritage, culture, and history, and to learn about the many African Americans who have contributed so much to the United States and the world! Read about the accomplishments of African Americans who made a difference with their ideas and actions, such as Hiram Revels, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Jackie Robinson.  This month is also a great opportunity to learn about organizations that have been vital to the progress of civil rights, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons, known as the NAACP. For more than 100 years, the NAACP helped minorities in their struggle for freedoms. The group supported the African-American labor movement of the 1930s and 1940s and, in the 1950s, was involved in the Brown v. Board of Education case.

Check out this month’s SIRS Discoverer’s Spotlight of the Month and join us in honoring African Americans and their continuing influence and triumphs.

 

SKS Spotlight of the Month: Black History Month

Eager African American Boy Scouts get ready to do their part by distributing posters in their neighborhoods <br \> 208-LU-13K-21, via ProQuest SIRS Renaissance [Public Domain]

Eager African American Boy Scouts get ready to do their part by distributing posters in their neighborhoods
208-LU-13K-21, via ProQuest SIRS Renaissance [Public Domain]

African-American history is integral to the history of the United States. Our nation and its ever-evolving notion of “freedom” rests on the backbone of the African-American experience. Stories of Black Americans overcoming great odds are interwoven into the fabric of the American experience. Consider the personal histories of such people as Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King, Jr.: the strength, resiliency, and wisdom of these individuals have inspired countless Americans and forever will be synonymous with the America’s heritage and culture. The American notion of “freedom”–what it stands for and what it means to society–reflects the struggles and triumphs of these and many more African Americans.

Join SKS during the month of February in celebrating Black History Month. Learn about and commemorate the achievements of African Americans throughout history and today.

The First Kwanzaa

(Credit: The Official Kwanzaa Web Site)

The first Kwanzaa, an African American celebration of life, was celebrated in 1966. Kwanzaa is based on the year-end harvest festivals that have taken place throughout Africa for thousands of years. The name comes from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, which means “first fruits of the harvest.” Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, created Kwanzaa as a way to bring African-Americans together, and emphasize the role of the family and community in African-American culture.

Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa (December 26-January 1) honors a different principle–unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. A different candle on a seven-branched candle holder (kinara) is lit each day. Three candles on the left are green; three on the right are red; and in the middle is a black candle. These three colors were important symbols in ancient Africa. Green represents the fertile land of Africa; black is for the color of the people; and red stands for the blood that is shed in the struggle for freedom. Along with the seven principles (nguzo saba) and the seven days of Kwanzaa, there are seven symbols that are used to represent the meaningful themes of the holiday. These seven items are arranged in an area set up as a Kwanzaa altar or table in the home. The celebration also includes the giving of gifts and a karamu, or African feast, held on December 31.

ProQuest’s SIRS Knowledge Source allows educators and students to learn more about the history and traditions of Kwanzaa by exploring resources like these:

More Cultural Than Religious, Kwanzaa Rooted in Tradition

Why We Celebrate–or Don’t Celebrate–Kwanzaa

Rooted in Africa, but Made in U.S.A.

Juneteenth

Juneteenth

Juneteenth.  It sounds like a made-up word.  However, Juneteenth is indeed real.  It is the recognition of the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865.  On this date, Union troops landed at Galveston and brought news of the emancipation which had been suppressed for 2 ½ years.  The Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln had become official on January 1, 1863, but it had little impact in Texas because there were not enough Union troops to enforce it.  That was until June 19, 1865.

US NEWS JUNETEENTH 4 PHToday 42 states recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday or a day of observance.  All former Confederate and slave holding states observe Juneteenth in some fashion.  It is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.  Festivities include picnics and prayer services with a focus on African American achievement.

As the United States celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, let us not forget those who endured 2 ½ more years for their day of freedom to come.  Also, let us not forget those who labored for the passage of a law abolishing slavery, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which became official December 6, 1865.

SIRS Discoverer Spotlight: Black History Month

Portrait of a young African-American from the "Negro Exhibition" created by W.E.B. Du Bois and presented at the Paris Exhibition, 1900. By Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

Portrait of a young African-American from the “Negro Exhibition” created by W.E.B. Du Bois and presented at the Paris Exhibition, 1900.
By Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer [Public Domain]

February is Black History Month! Celebrate with SIRS Discoverer by learning about African Americans and their accomplishments, history, culture and heritage.  Join people across the nation and honor the vital role African Americans played in shaping the country’s past and present. Meet Sojourner Truth and discover the immense impact she had on civil and women’s rights. Read about Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech. Get to know pioneering African-American athletes such as Moses Fleetwood Walker and John Baxter Taylor Jr. Visit the construction site of the National Museum of African American History and Culture,  a museum of black history being built in Washington, DC. From the slavery era through the civil-rights movement, from the courageous efforts of Ruby Bridges to the political success of Barack Obama, African Americans have shaped American history. Go to February’s Discoverer Spotlight of the Month and pay tribute to Black History Month.