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Celebrating Black History Month

African Americans have played important roles in the development of America; the recognition of our roles in growth and development from a historical perspective is an important step in celebrating the contributions of individuals and the collective changes the African American community has brought about.

February is a time to remind ourselves of the many and varied contributions African Americans have made to every aspect of the American culture and to celebrate them in conjunction with others. Be it music, science, religion, health … examples and influence from the black experience are present. Each of us ought to enhance our knowledge of our impact and share with others the richness of these many contributions.

In earlier years, one week was reserved for this celebration of African American contributions however in more recent years one week has become one month. One month of celebration must expand into year-round recognition of the significant contributions and gifts provided by African American citizens. Written history needs to be recorded wherein it is inclusive of all citizens in order to integrate our historical contributions for the well-being of all us. African Americans are not fully represented in written history at this point therefore the importance of recognizing this uniqueness becomes very important in the development of community, understanding and appreciation of everyone.

Understanding one another is urgent today as our world becomes smaller. If we know and understand the history of one another, we are better positioned to be appreciative of our own and others' differences. Celebration leads to providing experiences that create lasting impressions and knowledge. This month is especially significant to enhance our sense of the differences, sameness, and uniqueness of every individual allowing us to embrace the contributions of all of us in this shrinking society.

Will each of us leave this month with a greater understanding of contributions by African American brothers and sisters? Are we better off having such information? Indeed, we are always richer by the enlargement of our understanding of one another and by expanding our knowledge. Let us take advantage of a month to grow beyond where we are and work to more fully integrate history into one.

Foreword by Maggie Jackson, a professor and director in the School of Social
Work, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio.