February is coming to a close. Little wonder as it is the shortest month of the year. But even with it’s brevity, February packs quite a punch. Between the holidays and the observances, this 28 day month is very busy! Valentine’s Day, Groundhog Day, President’s Day, American Heart Month, and Black History Month. And while those other observances are fun and interesting and historically important, it is Black History Month that stands out to me.
Black History Month holds the opportunity to learn more about my ancestry and history. Each February I learn a bit more about extraordinary men and women who accomplished so much in their lives yet, little are known about them. For example I did not know that it was Carter G. Woodson who created Black History Month which originated in 1926. He created it to celebrate achievements, births, important timelines, events and to remember those we lost. Or that William Carney was the first black U.S. soldier to earn the Presidential Medal of Honor.
And here is something else that I learned just recently. Madam CJ Walker was the first African-American woman who became a self-made millionaire! Not only that, one could say that she started the type of business that direct selling companies like Avon, Mary Kay and Tupperware would later pattern themselves after. She not only made a successful business for herself but also showed other women how to empower themselves in the same way. Moreover her struggle led the way for people like Paul Innis to become the premier make-up artist for Avon and for the opportunity for me to be my own boss.
Click on the the image for a quick biography video.
So to Carter Woodson, William Carney, Madam CJ Walker and those countless others who came before me, thank you. February may be the shortest month, but the days it holds are and will continue to be memorable.