Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African American History Month. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada and more recently has been observed in Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Why is Black History Month in February? The tradition began based on the birthdays of two important historical figures: the births of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who claimed February 14 as his birthday, and President Abraham Lincoln, who was born on February 12. Leon Rodrigues,
director for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Luther Seminary says, “Black history is an integral part of our shared American history, worthy of being celebrated.”

African Americans are largely the descendants of enslaved people who were brought from their African homelands by force to work in the New World. Their rights were severely limited, and they
were long denied a rightful share in the economic, social, and political progress of the United States.

The United States has had five African Americans elected officeholders prior to 1867. After Congress passed the First Military Reconstruction Act of 1867 and ratified the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1870, African Americans began to be elected or
appointed to national, state, county, and local offices throughout the United States.

Wentworth Cheswell, first African American to be elected to public office in the United States. He was elected New Market, New Hampshire town constable (1768). In 1776 he became one of
the first members of the New Market school board.

Alexander Lucius Twilight, the first African American elected as a state legislator, serving in the Vermont House of Representatives (1836). He was also the only African American ever elected to a state legislature before the Civil War.

Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African American to serve in the U.S. Senate, representing the state of Mississippi during Reconstruction (1870-1871).

Joseph Hayne Rainey, the first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing South Carolina (1870-1879).

Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the state of New York (1968-1983). In 1972 she made history again by becoming the first Black woman of a major party to run for a presidential nomination.

Douglas Wilder, the first African American to be elected governor of an American state, Virginia (1990).

Barak Hussein Obama, the first African American to hold the office of president of the United States (2009 to-2017).

 

For His Glory,
Pastor Bernie Miller