Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Honor an Unsung Hero of Black History Month

Do you know an Unsung Hero of Black History?
Share his or her story -- and a photo if you have one -- to remember and honor them during Black History Month.

Every February, we celebrate the triumphs and accomplishments of African-Americans as families, classrooms, and libraries across the nation commemorate Black History Month. It is a time to recognize the giants of our struggle, from Harriet Tubman to Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglass to Barack Obama.

But history is more than just a collection of famous people and major dates. Indeed, it is a multi-layered narrative in which individual decisions lead to collective movements, where context, timing and personalities combine to create the space for social change to occur.

Without question, the Montgomery Bus Boycott needed a Rosa Parks to take her legendary stand, but it also depended on the thousands of individuals making the courageous decision morning after morning to risk their jobs, their health and their safety to bring a measure of justice to the Jim Crow South. Each of these participants deserves our recognition too.

Every organizer who fought against workplace inequality, every neighbor who registered his or her block to vote, is an unsung hero of black history.

This month, the NAACP has launched "Unsung Heroes of Black History Month," a new interactive web-based feature celebrating these little known black history heroes. NAACP members and supporters around the country will have the opportunity to upload a photo and tell the story of their favorite unsung hero to be published on our website. Viewers will be able to read, learn and comment on their stories.

The world-changing advances made by African-Americans were neither pre-ordained nor inevitable. They are the product of thousands of individuals who changed the world with small decisions every day.

When you share a story of an unsung hero, we can expand our understanding of the narrative of black history, one hero at a time. Thank you.

Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO