Issue 6: Winter 2001 page 5
African American History Month 2001:
The month of February has been designated as African American History Month, an observance that has been institutionalized and began as Negro History Week, through the tenacious efforts of Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926. This year's theme is "Creating and Defining the African American Community: Family, Church, Politics and Culture." This theme provides numerous opportunities to create and promote a better understanding and appreciation of the significant contributions of African Americans to this Nations and the world.
African Americans have made and continue to make important and historic contributions in countless documented and undocumented ways to improving the social, economic, cultural, political and religious life of this Nation. The history of African Americans is a story of extraordinary courage, tenacity, dedication and faith that prevailed against centuries of human bondage and discrimination to build lives for themselves and their families and strengthen the character of America.
The National Park Service celebrates the contributions of African Americans on a daily basis, through the preservation, maintenance and interpretative themes of more than 28 sties that tell the stories and legacy of their historical contributions and significance. Some of the sites that interpret African American History are Booker T. Washington National Monument in Virginia, Boston African American National Historic Site, Nicodemus National Historic Site in Kansas, Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in Washington, D.C., the Underground Railroad Historic Trail and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site in Georgia.
Our observances should be used to understand, appreciate, and acknowledge the ingenuity, creativity, cultural experiences of African Americans and their contributions. I am requesting that each of you join the National Park Service in observing African American History Month by participating in programs and observances in your area.
Did You Know?
The Confederate government hired slave labor from all around Virginia. The slaves helped build earthen fortifications for the protection of Richmond; the government paid the slaves' owners for their work.