The month of February is known for celebrating love, but it is also dedicated to celebrating the Black men and women who have influenced the history of the nation.
“Learning about Black history during February has taught me many things about activists that have given up a lot and have fought for the rights of those who look like me. Their determination and braveness makes me feel like I can do anything,” Cheryl Njuguna, freshman, said.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was born on Jan. 15, 1927, in Tennessee. Elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, he led the SCLC, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the increasing civil rights movement, during a pivotal period in history. During his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, King spoke about the need for an increase in economic rights for African Americans and the goal of ending racism in the United States. King was assassinated in 1968, but he left a legacy and example for many to follow.
“Martin Luther King, Jr., is an inspiration to me because of how he was able to bring people together to create a change for the better,” Joe Oburu, sophomore, said.
Another person who influenced the history of Black Americans was Rosa Parks, who is best known for starting the Montgomery Bus Boycott. In 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus to a white man. Her actions inspired the Black community to organize the bus boycott. As a result, Parks lost her job and faced many hardships. Influenced by the boycott, the Supreme Court declared that segregating buses was unconstitutional. Parks became a national symbol of hope that racial segregation could end.
“I would say Parks was a very determined women of color that was not going to stop until she received her rights as a human. She taught me to fight for what I believe in and to never stop until I meet my goal,” Alauna Nelson, freshman, said.
W.E.B Du Bois was an American sociologist, socialist, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, and author. Du Bois was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which is still one of the strongest organizations fighting for African American rights. Du Bois also wrote essays exposing the lies and hypocrisy of the era of Reconstruction which occurred after the Civil War.
“W.E.B Du Bois’s participation in the civil rights movement and the NAACP organization for black people helped bring this country closer together and achieve more equality for African American people during that time and even further today,” Anthony Berberi, senior, said.
Dr. King, Rosa Parks, and W.E.B Du Bois are just three of many inspirational people who contributed to the Civil Rights Movement. As a result of their determination and bravery, Black American history has changed for the better.