President's Point – February 2018
February may be the shortest month of the year but it is packed with many significant, romantic and fun events like Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, Presidents Day, and the anniversary of the founding of the NAACP in 1909. It is also the month that we recognize the many accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans.
When University of Chicago and Harvard educated historian Carter G. Woodson established Negro History Week in February 1926, he intended to focus the public’s attention on important historical developments that merited attention. “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated,” said Woodson as he strove to include Black history into American history.
During February, Americans already commemorated the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, two prominent men who contributed to Black History. With Negro History Week, they had more to celebrate. Many communities and schools have organized local programs and history clubs for that purpose.
Over time, Negro History Week was transformed by the Civil Rights movement into a month-long celebration. In 1976, the Federal Government officially recognized Black History Month and President Gerald Ford called upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every endeavor throughout our history.” Since then every American president has designated the month of February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme.
The 2018 Black History Month theme, “African Americans in Times of War,” marks the centennial of the end of World War I and honors the roles of Black Americans in our nation’s wars from the Revolution up to the present day.
To honor the brave men and women who valiantly fought and all Black Americans, I dedicate Elder Care Services’ month of February to improving the quality of life of all Black seniors and their caregivers and celebrate the wonderful Black volunteers, supporters, and staff who make what we do possible.
Mark D. Baldino
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