This is Black History Month, a month for remembrance, a month when we look back at the people who changed the world for every black person alive today. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of them. He led the March on Washington. His greatest achievement was his policy for nonviolence protest during the civil rights movement.
He has won many awards such as the Nobel Peace Prize, which he won in 1964. Shot in the neck by with a riffle bullet, Dr. King died on April 4, 1968 on the balcony of the black-owned Lorraine Hotel just off Beale Street.
According to the Who2 profiles website, “Dr. King has passed his knowledge on through his wife Coretta Scott King.” Coretta Scott King died Tuesday, January 31, 2006, at an alternate medicine clinic in Mexico. The cause of death was respiratory failure. Just like her husband, Coretta was influential as a civil rights leader.
Besides the Kings, Jackie Robinson was another famous person who influenced our world today. Robinson was the first African-American to play professional baseball in the major leagues in 1947.
“He won the Rookie of the Year award,” reports the Who2 website, “and went on to appear in six World Series in ten seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson was the first African American to appear in the Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1962.”
Another famous African American woman was Rosa Parks. Parks would not give up her seat on a bus to a white man. This act led to the Montgomery Bus boycott, directed by the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.
“Her brave act along with the bus boycott and other civil right demonstrations contributed to widespread desegregation in the United States,” records Who2. “Rosa became a national icon for civil rights and African-American Pride. She has awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1996.”
Harriet Tubman, another known African American, helped hundreds of African-American slaves escape through the Underground Railroad. The Who2 website reports, “She freed over 300 slaves including her. Her success has earned her the nickname ‘The Moses of her people’ and made a symbol of the American Anti-slavery movement.”
Dr. King, Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman are known for their courage and their outstanding belief in equality. These African Americans all had a vision, a dream for young and future African Americans.
These distinguished people wanted equality, freedom, and fairness among all people black and white. They struggled and fought through segregation, racism, death threats beatings and slavery for our freedom. We as Americans owe them our gratitude, our faith, and our support. These people fought for us, and to this day, we as African Americans are still fighting.
Besides Jackie Robinson, there is Maya Angelou. Mrs. Angelou been nominated for a National Book Award and made a symbol of pride for African American woman. She spent five years in Africa and wrote much as a journalist over the years.
At Bill Clinton’s request, she wrote a poem, “On the Pulse of the Morning,” for his 1993 inauguration as U.S. president. “She won Grammy Awards for the spoken word for the years 1993, 1995, and 2002,” reports the website Who2.
As an African American woman, I have seen and still (sporadically) see the racism, the hatred, and the violence that Dr. King and Harriet Tubman fought to eliminate.
We are no different from anyone else, but in this world today, it seems like Dr. King and Harriet Tubman are still fighting this war. I am honored, and grateful that these courageous people stood up for us. I do hope today someone will listen and understand how much they contribute to us.
We all know how much African Americans have contributed significantly to our world. Today, unfortunately, racism still exists. We as Americans need to sit back and read up on the many African Americans who have put their lives on the line for us.
What did we do to repay them? NOTHING. Why? Because even though we do not want to believe it, or see it, racism is still going on. Educate yourself. Read. And understand. Be a leader not a follower.