Valdosta Daily Times

February 28, 2014

A salute to Black History Month

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Today is the last day of February. It is also the last day of Black History Month, a time to commemorate and remember the contributions made throughout the years by black men and women in America.

Founded in 1915, 50 years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which ultimately abolished slavery in America, Black History Month was created as a way to acknowledge black Americans. Attempting to recognize all those who have achieved greatness in their field is impossible, but at least today, on the last day of the month celebrated in their honor, following is a partial list of great black Americans.

Athletes: Hank Aaron, Muhammad Ali, Arthur Ashe, Sugar Ray Leonard, Jackie Robinson, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Jesse Owens, Willie Mays, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson.

Arts and Entertainment: Robin Roberts, B.B. King, Redd Foxx, James Earl Jones, Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, Halle Berry, Bill Cosby, Sammy Davis Jr., Morgan Freeman, Richard Pryor, Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Bradley, Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix.

Authors: Maya Angelou, Ralph Ellison, Walter Mosley, Toni Morrison, Alex Haley, Zora Neale Hurston.

Politicians and Leaders: President Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson, Colin Powell, Andrew Young, Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Thomas, Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, Malcolm X, George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglass, Rosa Parks.

The list is not all-inclusive by any means. That’s not possible, as the contributions by great black Americans are numerous and far reaching throughout the decades. Many more categories could be listed.

The point is not to see how many you can name, but to understand their importance. Not just today, or just this month, but everyday, for all of the years to come.