County Council celebrates Black History Month as “history of our nation”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dr. Quintard Taylor accepts the Black History proclamation from the King County Council
Photo courtesy King County

On Monday, the Metropolitan King County Council celebrated the continuing contributions of African-Americans in the United States and throughout the world by proclaiming the month of February Black History Month in King County.

“Over the years I’ve heard many ask: Why is there a Black History Month? Well, for centuries, the countless contributions, sacrifices, and influences of millions of African Americans were hidden, ignored, and denied,” said proclamation sponsor Councilmember Larry Gossett. 
“Many of the specific contributions in science, medicine, industry, education, and every other sphere in our society are still widely unknown. My hope is that celebrating Black History Month will lead to the further illumination of these contributions, many of which have positively impacted not just African Americans, or Americans in general, but the world community.”

African-American History month was the idea of historian and educator Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who hoped to raise awareness of African American's contributions to civilization. As the founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Dr. Woodson created Negro History Week to be celebrated in February, the birth month of Abraham Lincoln and former slave and African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass (who died in 1895).

“To understand our shared American history we must learn and understand black history,” said Council Vice Chair Rod Dembowski. “If we are to improve our community as a whole and address discrimination and systematic oppression, we must heed to the lessons of history and Dr. King's words, ‘whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.’”

The first Negro History Week was celebrated in 1926. In 1976, as America celebrated its bicentennial, Negro History Week became Black History Month, a celebration recognized in the U.S. and Canada.

“One of the most helpful, impactful paradigm shifts in thinking we all must undertake is to understand that African American history encompasses the histories of all of us,” stated Dr. Quintard Taylor, retired University of Washington professor and the founder of Blackpast, a historical research project that documents the history and contributions of African Americans and other people of African descent here and throughout the world.

“Through my work I’ve discovered that, contrary to what we’ve been taught here, African history has a significant role in places like Germany, Poland, and upward of 160 nations around the world. This has been the reality in many of these countries for centuries. It is time for us as Americans to understand that the contributions of each of us improve the lives of all of us.”

Dr. Taylor was on hand to receive the proclamation from the Council.


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