Celebrating Black History
The impact of African Americans nationally and locally
Black History Month is not only about studying history, but also celebrating the accomplishments and achievements of the present. From the 1800s Emancipation Proclamation to the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, we as Black people in America have had to overcome many barriers to seek equity and equality.
As we move forward, we must always remember where we came from. Some of the most notable moments in Black History include the Underground Railroad, the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution (Juneteenth), the Civil Rights Act, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Selma to Montgomery march, Barack Obama becoming the first African American President, and the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Take a moment to think about what life would be like for African Americans if these events had not occurred. We would technically be free from slavery, however we would still face obstacles to exercising our rights as humans daily. These events are the foundation of the Black community and should always be recognized and taught to ensure we know where we came from in order to move forward.
There are an abundance of African American leaders, artists, creators and heroes that deserve to be recognized during this month and every month — from W.E.B Dubois, an activist who was one of the most important Black protestors in the 20th century, to Martin Luther King Jr, the most prominent leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.
African Americans are some of the most accomplished innovators. Agricultural chemist George Washington Carver, traffic light inventor Garrett Morgan, and self-made millionaire Madame C.J. Walker (who created hair products for Black hair) are among the important contributors to today's society.
There are many local advocates and leaders who have been active over the years right here in Erie, PA. Gary Horton, Larry Meredith, Rubye Jenkins Husband, and Eva Tucker, are just a few who have paved the way for the African American community in Erie.
Many up-and-coming Black leaders are emerging and learning. One way for our community to stay involved is to join in and support the local initiatives and activities that are hosted in the area. One of the main celebrations that occurs in the African American community is Erie's Juneteenth Celebration. This is an annual cultural celebration located in Downtown Erie that celebrates the culture and supports local minority owned businesses. This year it will be held in the heart of the city on State Street between 12th and 13th. The celebration gives us a chance to experience local Black History in the making.
Juneteenth is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Deriving its name from combining "June" and "nineteenth," it is celebrated on the anniversary of General Order No. 3, issued by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas.
This year's Juneteenth celebration will be held Saturday, June 17 from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, to sponsor, or volunteer please contact Angela McNair, Erie's Juneteenth Celebration Coordinator by email at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.