Although February is considered the official Black History Month, this important part of United States history should be remembered and commemorated all year long. Remembering the significant contributions African Americans have made individually and collectively is important for understanding our history and determining our future.
Below are some important dates of significance to African American history (Note: Dates are listed in chronological order as they transpired in history).
May 31, 1909. On this day about 300 African Americans as well as whites met in New York City to form the NAACP. James Weldon Johnson was the first African American secretary of this organization and took the position in 1920.
November 6, 1928. The first African American is elected to the United States Congress, Oscar DePriest of Chicago (Note: by the year 2000 there were 39 African Americans serving in Congress and 14 of them were women).
April 15, 1947. The Brooklyn Dodgers boasted the first-ever African American baseball team member, Jackie Robinson. This landmark debut on April 15, 1947 opened the doors for other African Americans to integrate into college and professional sports.
September 18, 1950. Ralth J. Bunche was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his successful mediation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was named the United Nations mediator two years prior and was given this specific assignment. Bunche was the first-ever African American to win the coveted prize.
May 17, 1954. The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously voted to do away with legal segregation of blacks and whites in the school system. Although it would be many years before this law was truly applied and enforced, this date marks the supreme decision for legal change.
December 5, 1955. This day was the start of the bus boycotts in Alabama. Such individuals as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King gained fame through these events.
October 1, 1962. James Meredith entered the University of Mississippi as the first African American student. He was escorted by a large number of Federal troops.
While there are many more dates to remember in Black History, it is good to note some of them.