ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala -- Former Presidents have signed and echoed the sentiments of the importance of observing Black History. It is the reflections of the past that assist in securing our future.
Challenges and overcoming obstacles continue to be a part of African American lives. It is a state that is felt within the individual as well a factor in everyday life. Reminiscing about African American History, told and untold, gives strength, understanding and power
We are familiar with forerunners such as Carter G. Woodson, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Booker T. Washington, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm and Dr. King. There are so many noteworthy and great accomplishments by African Americans in Science, Engineering, Math, Arts, Sports and in every fiber of US History. Many of these individuals are repeated year after year as matriarch and heroes. While they are and should be spotlighted, there are others that encouraged them.
The plight of the African American was not burdened by only African Americans. There were many whom were not of African heritage that chose to seek equal and fair treatment for Blacks in America. They gave of themselves and families to contribute to the measure of equality experienced today by the African American.
Unsung heroes worked in the background to move the civil rights movement forward. On January 24, 2021 in Montgomery, Ala., a memorial service was held at the historic First Baptist Church for Jean Graetz. She was remembered as a pioneer of civil rights. Graetz and her husband, Rev. Robert Graetz were partners and worked quietly on behalf of equality for all. It is echoed that Rev. Graetz was a key player in the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
On July 2, 1964, a landmark law prohibiting discrimination based on race in public accommodations such as restaurants, theaters, in publicly owned or operated facilities, in employment and union membership and registration to vote was signed by President Lyndon Johnson. It is known as the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Long before the March on Washington of 1963 and the Civil Right Act of 1964, men and women had the courage to stand against the injustices many suffered as a way of life. Their truths and convictions superseded their everyday walk of life.
Remembering the hardness of the civil rights movement serves as an encouragement to not repeat the past. Yes, there were the horrors of slavery, injustices that the African American endured such as lynchings, rape, castrations, separation from families and not being treated as equals. Yes, much of African American history chronicles these events. Yet, through all of the suffering, there were African Americans along with other races that possessed a deeper vision beyond their immediate state. There is a history of the unsung heroes that is rarely told.
Reminiscing on the past provides courage, commitment, fortitude and strength for today. It does not make African Americans bitter, but provides a framework to make our world a better place for all. This tremendous legacy should be taught for generations to come. “Honoring the Past, Securing the Future!” is the Black History Month’s theme.
2021 WSFA12 News, January 24, 2021