Black History Month is here again with it the memory of many who blazed trails and open doors of opportunity for all of us. In every field we have made a significant mark. Surely black history should be celebrated in the black community every day of the year, not just one month of the year. Yet it is important that we remember during this month though, the notable contributions and firsts that have happened and continue to happen in every field of endeavor.
It is our responsibility for example to teach our youth who Shirley Chisholm was, as the first African American elected to Congress or Edward W. Brooks, who was the first African American to be elected by popular vote to serve in the US Senate. Or maybe Sojourner Truth a woman’s rights advocate and abolitionist or Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator and founder of the college, now university and happens to be the school I graduated from years ago. Jackie Robison, Wilma Rudolph, Sugar Ray Robinson and Jesse Owens all excelled in the world of sports. You name it; we were there and continue to excel in every discipline. Where would our world be without the invention of the traffic light or the ability to give blood transfusions, both accomplishments offered by black men.
In this age of harsh messages and rolling back of gains from our government, let us be encouraged that we stand on the shoulders of many who excelled under the often most difficult circumstances and made history by the actions of their lives. Let our heroes and heroines of the past inspire us despite the rhetoric of our present day. In the words of the civil rights movement of the not too distant past “We shall overcome.” They did and we can too. They set us on a path of success, so that our road might be a bit easier. Celebrate Black History Month with a bit of humility for those who have gone before us and also a dose of thankfulness for the ways they have contributed to making the world a better place, a more just place, a place where you and I can thrive and build upon the good they have done.
Stephen W. Camp
Faith Congregational Church
2030 Main Street, Hartford
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