February is Black History Month, and we believe that is worth celebrating! This annual event highlights the incredible achievements and resilience of the Black community and Black individuals, who historically have not been recognized for their contributions to our community or their personal achievements. Now is the time. It is time to acknowledge history and reality of racism and discrimination that exists in the United States and in our community. It is a time to validate the emotional and physical violence that disproportionately impacts Black Americans. It is a time to honor our Black elders and support our Black youth. It is a time to stand up and say, “Black Lives Matter.”
In 1915, fifty years after the 13th Amendment was passed, historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland began a group known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. This group highlighted the work and accomplishments of Black Americans. In 1926, they sponsored the first national Black History Week, the second week in February. By the late 1960s, Black History Month was emerging and was officially recognized in 1976. Since then, each year’s celebration includes a special theme. In 2021, that theme is, “Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.”
Dr. Lillie May Carroll Jackson: Baltimore Spotlight
Dr. Lillie Jackson was born in Baltimore, Maryland on May 25, 1889 and lived there her entire life. She was a dedicated teacher, teaching 2nd grade at the old Biddle Street School. She first became involved in Civil Rights groups when her daughters, Virginia and Juanita, were refused admission to Maryland Institute (now MICA) and the University of Maryland because of their race. In 1935, Dr. Jackson became the President of the Baltimore branch of the NAACP, greatly increasing membership, assisting in the Court of Appeals decision to integrate the University of Maryland, and supporting equity in salaries for teachers of all races. She was head of the Maryland NAACP from 1942-1962 before her retirement. Dr. Jackson passed away on July 5, 1975, impacting the Baltimore community for all who come after.
It is vital that we continue to educate ourselves on Black history as well as the lived reality of our Black neighbors. One place to begin is at https://www.mpt.org/raceresources/ where you will find local and national resources such as documentaries and reading lists.
Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland remains committed to equity within our four walls as well as outside them. We recognize and honor our Black staff, volunteers, clients, and the Maryland community as a whole this day during Black History Month and every day of the year.