Events mark Black History month
Published: February 4, 2013
Font size: [A] [A] [A]
February is designated as Black History Month in the United States and Canada for the purpose of celebrating the African diaspora and its cultural achievements.
In 1926, "Negro History Week" was established when historian Carter Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History chose the second week of February, to coincide with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Woodson had hoped the celebration would one day be abolished because the history of African Americans had become fundamental to the way American history was presented.
Negro History Week inspired the formation of so many clubs and swelled in popularity that by the 1960s, it was recognized in many municipalities. It was expanded to a monthlong celebration by students at Kent State University in 1969. President Gerald Ford made it a national observance in 1976.
The theme of Black History Month 2013 is "At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington." It emphasizes two seminal events in black history: the formal release of African Americans from slavery, issued by Abraham Lincoln on Jan. 1, 1863, and the Aug. 28, 1963, civil rights rally at which the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech.
As part of local Black History Month celebrations, All Saints School on St. Thomas will host a Black History Month Fair on Friday.
Additionally, The African Diaspora Youth Development Foundation will host a lecture and photo presentation honoring the late Wilbur "Bill" LaMotta, a Virgin Islands pianist, composer and leader of "The LaMotta Brothers" band. LaMotta's brother, Ray LaMotta, will speak about being in the band and his brother's life. The presentation will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Feb. 22 in the University of the Virgin Islands, conference room of the ACC building.