STATEMENT: DNC Statement on Black History Month

For Immediate Release
February 1, 2017

Contact: DNC Press – 202-863-8148

DNC Statement on Black History Month

WASHINGTON – DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile and DNC Black Caucus Chair Virgie Rollins issued the following statement:

“This Black History Month we honor the heroes of our shared past and recommit ourselves to the ongoing fight against discrimination and racial inequality. From the brutal shackles of slavery to the profound achievements of President Barack Obama, ours is a story of both tears and triumph.

“We celebrate history’s great champions of the Civil Rights movement – extraordinary leaders like Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks. We recall those who broke barriers and earned a seat at the table of power, like Senator Hiram Revels, the first African American to serve in Congress, Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to Congress, and Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black woman elected to the Senate. And we fight shoulder to shoulder alongside living legends like Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton who was arrested for leading sit-ins as a young organizer in the South, and Rep. John Lewis who marched peacefully across the Edmund Pettus Bridge as a young activist toward a blockade of club-wielding men.

“These heroes paved the way for countless other great thinkers, innovators, inventors, athletes, artists and entrepreneurs whose contributions to our nation are unquantifiable, and who will continue to shape our shared future.

“Black History Month is also a time to remember all the ordinary Americans that the towering heroes of our past represent. We remember the many victims of violence and brutality, we remember that Black lives matter, and we honor all the nameless, faceless citizens whose personal stories would tell us that the struggle for economic and racial justice continues. That’s why it is our sacred responsibility to pick up the torch and fight alongside today’s champions of justice for good jobs, a living wage, greater access to decent health care, and not least of all, better schools.

“In fact, the central theme of this year’s Black History Month is ‘The Crisis in Black Education.’ In too many districts across the country, and especially in predominantly minority communities, schools still lack the resources needed to close the racial achievement gap. Tragically, that gap has barely narrowed over the past 50 years. So let us work together to harness the great equalizing power of education, reignite the spirit of the Civil Rights movement, and march forward together to build a brighter future for all of our children, no matter their zip code, no matter their race, color or creed.”

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Black History Month 2017

The month of February is designated as Black History Month to celebrate and recognize the role of African-Americans in United States’ history. Every year a new theme is chosen to represent that month’s main focus. The Crisis in Black Education is 2017’s theme, addressing the important role of education in the history of African-Americans.

Black History Month evolved from the 1926 Negro History Week in which Carter Woodson who founded the Journal of Negro History and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, created. The second week of February was chosen because Black communities across the United States, had already been celebrating Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas’s birthdays for years.

Kent State’s Black United Students proposed extending Black History Week to Black History Month in 1969 and celebrated in the month of February in 1970. Black History Month was officially recognized by President Gerald Ford in 1976, coinciding with the Bicentennial.

Resources – Oklahoma Black History Month Events:

List updated 1/31/17