Black History Month Reflection

BY: HEATHER GRINKLEY

 

BETHANY W.Va. – February was Black History Month, and what better way to celebrate than to acknowledge some of the famous black people who made a difference in America? African Americans have come a long way from Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad and Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech.

Harriet Tubman was an African American abolitionist, humanitarian, and during the American Civil War, a union spy. She escaped slavery to become a leading abolitionist as well as helping hundreds of enslaved people to freedom through the Underground Railroad. The Underground Railroad was not an actual railroad where trains would travel, but was rather a network of secret routes that would lead to safe houses in efforts to escape to free states. Harriet Tubman’s courageous act allowed her to escort over 300 slaves through the Underground Railroad.

Rosa Parks was another leading woman who stood up against racial segregation. Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama city bus in 1955. The leaders of the local black community organized a bus boycott which lasted for more than a year. Parks became a nationally recognized symbol of dignity and strength in the struggle to end segregation. She will forever be admired for her strength and courage for what she believed in.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African American civil rights movement. King will forever be remembered as the man who made his famous “I have a dream” speech about black and white people coexisting with each other in harmony. He was the leader for the Montgomery bus boycott and the march on Washington, and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. King would be remembered for his commitment to end segregation no matter the consequences.

Malcolm X was another very innovative black speaker. He was an African American Muslim minister and a human rights activist. His real name was Malcolm Little, but he changed his last name to “X” in order to signify his rejection of his “slave” name. Malcolm was a prominent Black Nationalist leader who served as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam during the 1950s and 60s. He urged his followers to defend themselves against white aggression.

Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and many others will always be remembered for their commitment to make a change. Due to their efforts we now live in a desegregated country. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” 

 

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