Black History Month Figures

Camden Cook, Contributor

It’s February, which means that it’s Black History Month, a month especially attributed to prominent african american figures who helped pave the way to social and civil rights for black people in American society. Some had more direct efforts towards the acceptance of colored people and others proved the equality between all races through their own actions in everyday life.

Martin Luther King jr. is probably the most commonly known civil rights activist. In his lifetime he gave countless speeches about racial equality, peace among each other, and always gave an extended hand of friendship. he married Correta Scott, an aspiring musician, and together had four kids, Yolanda, Martin Luther King III, Dexter Scott and Bernice. By the time he was twenty five, became a pastor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church and had earned his Ph.D. Later he became extremely well known and many would come to hear him. He gave his most popular speech, “I Have a Dream” in front of the Lincoln memorial as a reminder of the freedoms promised to blacks. After having done more in his life than many could dream to accomplish, he was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at St. Joseph’s Hospital. His life was an example of the importance of standing up for oneself and others around.

Rosa Parks was a woman known for her small and simple actions that sparked many civil rights movements. On December 1, 1955 she refused to give up her seat on a bus for a white man and was arrested. This started the Montgomery Bus Boycott which lasted for 384 days. Though her actions were simple and seemingly unimportant, it opened the eyes of many and progressed black rights one more step.

Harriet Tubman was a hero to many enslaved people in the south during the 1800’s. Using “the Underground Railroad” she successfully made 19 round trips from the North to the South and managed to bring over 300 people out of slavery to freedom. No other person was able to accomplish such an incredible and dangerous feat in her time. She earned the nickname “Moses” for leading so many into freedom from slavery. She died at the age of 93, from pneumonia on March 10, 1913 while being comforted by friends and family, as a legend to many.

Muhammad Ali was an African American world renowned boxer who absolutely dominated the competition. As a kid he began to learn how to box from a local police officer, and his career in boxing started not too much longer. He claimed an olympic gold medal in 1960 and claimed the world heavyweight boxing champion title in 1964. He proved in the ring that people of color could compete and humiliate white people, gaining more equality into the American culture.

Jackie Robinson was the first African American to ever play in the MLB in 1947. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and had a ten year career. He was known as one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball. He too proved through his athleticism that he was no different from white people and exemplified that black people should be accepted into society equally.

All these figures and many more paved the way for black acceptance in the world. it is because of these peoples’ decisions and actions that African American people became more accepted into society as equal.

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