On Tuesday, Indiana State Senator Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago), with the support of Senators Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) and Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis), presented House Resolution 20, authored by Representative Vernon Smith (D-Gary), in honor of Black History Month:
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the General Assembly of the State of Indiana, the Senate concurring, that the Indiana General Assembly acknowledges the many contributions and accomplishments of Black Americans throughout the history of the United States and Indiana.
Founded in 1926 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Black History Month was established in honor and celebration of the many contributions Black Americans have made to American history.
The son of former slaves, Dr. Woodson spent his young life working in the Kentucky coal mines and, at the age of 20, enrolled in high school. By 22, he graduated and went on to earn his Ph.D. from the esteemed Harvard University. As a student, Dr. Woodson found himself greatly troubled by the lack of attention given to Black Americans and the inferior portrayal of the Black American population in U.S. history books. In response, he began the task of writing Black Americans into the nation’s history, determined to more accurately acknowledge, portray and record the contributions they have made to the advancement of our country.
Successful in this endeavor, Dr. Woodson’s efforts inspired the establishment of a number of organizations as a way to bring national attention to the achievements of black people throughout American history. Those organizations include the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, founded in 1915 (now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History) and the Journal of Negro History (now known as the Journal of African American History).
In 1926, Dr. Woodson established what we now know as Black History Month. Originally founded as Negro History Week, February’s celebration of Black American history took place during the second week of the month to mark the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, two men who greatly influenced the Black American population. Today, Black History Month spans the entire month of February, acknowledging the achievements of blacks in the military, arts, civil rights, education, entertainment, history, law, literature, medicine, music, politics, science, sports and other areas.
The resolution proposed by Rep. V. Smith and Senators Randolph, Taylor and Breaux is intended to reflect upon, celebrate and pay homage to the Black American legacy and dedication that has helped to guide our nation’s success and prosperity.
LISTEN to Senator Randolphs comments here: