Black History Month

Black History Month in February celebrates the contributions that people of African diaspora have made to history in their struggles for freedom and equality and deepens our understanding of our Nation's history. 

In 1915, historian and author Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and HIstory (ASALH). Through this organization Dr. Woodson established the first Negro History Week in February 1926, which included the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

In 1976 the week was expanded by ASALH to Black History Month, also known as African American History Month to recognize the extraordinary achievements of African Americans and their essential role in shaping the story of America. When Carter G. Woodson established Negro History week in 1926, he realized the importance of providing a theme to focus the attention of the public. More information and annual themes can be found at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Black History Month has received official recognition in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Netherlands, and the United Kingsom.

Nelson Mandela Day July 18th Banner

Born as Rolihlahala Mandela in Mvezo, South Africa to the royal Thembu family of the Xhosa people, Nelson Mandela would later be known as “Madiba” the “Father of the Nation”, as the first black person elected to the presidency in South Africa in 1994. Garnering over 250 honors, Mandela made it his life’s work to promote democracy and social justice throughout the world, especially in his beloved South Africa.

When his own country had instituted racism, based on the example set by the southern states of the US, he dedicated his entire life to tearing down institutional racism within the government and the society at large. After spending 27 years in prison, starting in 1964, for his involvement Umkhonto we Sizwe, translated as Spear of the Nation, a right winged arm of the African National Congress (the party promoting democracy for all citizens in South Africa), he would be released as a political prisoner, when South Africa was on the verge of civil war. Several years later, in 1994, Mandela would vote for the first time in history at the polls that would elect him president of South Africa.

For his work during that time, he would share the Nobel Peace Prize with, then white South African president, F.W. DeKlerk, along with many other accomplishments and awards for his service.

Nelson Mandela picture

Nelson Mandela: July 18, 1918-December 5, 2013

“During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” - Nelson Mandela

True to his promise to only serve one presidential term of office, Mandela set the stage for future South Africans to heal the wounds of their divided society. He often said that this was not a black South Africa, and this was not a white South Africa, but one South Africa. During his presidency, he set up a Commission called the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” or TRC that allowed amnesty to government officials and police officers guilty of gross human rights violence against blacks in South Africa. In exchange for their testimony on the whereabouts of loved ones who disappeared at their hands, they could find amnesty. Not all were awarded amnesty, but it was a time for the nation to have a dialogue about the atrocities that happened under the system of apartheid (an institutional system of segregation based on race).

It was a time of healing for the nation. In November of 2009, The United Nations declared July 18th as Nelson Mandela Day in honor of him to promote the ideas of equality and democracy around the world.

United Nations · Nelson Mandela and the Struggle Against Apartheid (2010)

In 2016, first African American US president Barack Obama spoke at the 16th annual Nelson Mandela lectureship offering the following words….

“Let me tell you what I believe. I believe in Nelson Mandela’s vision. I believe in a vision shared by Gandhi and King and Abraham Lincoln. I believe in a vision of equality and justice and freedom and multiracial democracy, built on the premise that all people are created equal, and they are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. And I believe a world governed by such principles is possible and that it can achieve more peace and more cooperation in pursuit of a common good. That’s what I believe.

"As a role model and human rights champion around the world, Mandela said many things during his 93 years of life, but the quote that we remember him most for is quite possibly this one…

"We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference."

Let us embrace this message. Tutor a child. Feed the hungry. Volunteer your time at a local hospital or community center. Make the world a better place."

So on this July 18th, we recognize the amazing accomplishments of Nelson Mandela and his contributions to freedom and equality around the world.

For more information on his life, his work, his charity please visit: