It began in 1926 as “Negro Week” started by historian Carter G. Woodson. Black History Month has grown into a National Celebration of African-American History as a reminder of the sacrifices and progress made by Black martyrs as well as a commemoration for both Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas, who were both born in the second week of February. Now in 2021, Black History month is something that takes over the media by storm, on various social media platforms Black creators (no matter what shade) come together to put forth stories about the community and how we can all come together to celebrate and learn from our past.
At Orange Lutheran as an underclassmen, I distinctly remember walking past the counselor office and seeing the simple and small token of respect for Black leaders in history who have helped shape the United States into what it is today. My dad had come to pick me up and we walked by it together, we were both proud to see our people up on the wall, that small token of appreciation was heartwarming. Now as I walk by that same wall years later as a senior, the simple memoriam has once more been put up for black history month as expected, however a new edition was added closer to the counselors office, the Periodic Table of Black Excellence. When my friend first showed it to me we spent about 30 minutes looking at the different names and talking about how exciting it was to see so many great figures being given recognition from all time periods, ranging from Benjamin Banneker and Sidney Poitier to Morgan Freeman and Misty Copeland.
Orange Lutheran created an exemplary piece of informational art, a work that not only tied together great African American lives from all eras but also made it accessible for students to learn more by scanning the barcodes placed at the end of each page which would transfer them to an autobiographical site for each person. There is also a key that classifies each of the figures’ roles or groups that they were a part of, for example, if they were athletes, politicians, entrepreneurs, and more. Overall the work was a perfect addition to the way the school celebrates Black History and is definitely something I hope the school will continue to honor and cherish.
Photo Credit: Laudan Payne