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Inspiration from American History

Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. The first celebration of Black History Month took place at Kent State one year later, from January 2, 1970 – February 28, 1970. Six years later, Black History Month was being celebrated all across the country in educational institutions, centers of Black culture and community centers, both great and small, when President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month, during the celebration of the United States Bicentennial. He urged Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history".

It is hard to believe, 50 years later, black American history remains predominantly hidden in our education system outside of the month of February. I am almost 50 and I can confidently say that I still have a lot of learning to do to fully understand America's full history. This month, I decided to take inspiration from a stunning coffee table book, "I Dream a World" I have had for almost 30 years. It sits behind my office chair with other books and, almost as if it was a meant to be moment, it popped into my line of sight last Friday. I realized I never really had taken in all the words on the pages. I had always been drawn to the stunning images, but at best had skimmed the written pages. It shares portraits and interviews from 75 black women compiled and published in 1989.

I decided, given it was the eve of Black History Month, I would read about and share one woman every day of February.

I started on Feb. 1 opening to a random page and very quickly took inspiration from the words of Margaret Walker Alexander. I shared an excerpt from her interview on Instagram and Facebook. The first week has passed and each day, I have asked a friend to pick a number between 10 & 164 (pages in the book) that has led me to the next woman in history to highlight. Every day, I have been been left in awe of, inspired by and hopeful because each woman.

I invite you to follow along via Instagram or Facebook as I know you, too, will be left in awe, inspired by and hopeful because of these remarkable women in history. You can even participate more by sending me a message via IG or FB with your favorite number...and I will share the woman's words that corresponds with the page number in "I Dream a World".

Share with your family, friends and help BLU build #TeamHumanity.


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