February 1st marked the beginning of Black History Month. Throughout February, we celebrate those who fought for injustices and curated opportunities for Black Americans.
Why February? Well, because it’s the month Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas (two prominent figures in Black history) were born.
In 1915, historian Carter G. Woodson and minster Jesse E Moorland, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), now known as Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). Woodson and Moorland were dedicated to promoting achievements by Black Americans and people of African origin. In February 1926, the ASALH group sponsored national Negro History week, which took place the second week of February (Douglas and Lincoln’s birthdays). It wasn’t long before schools and communities began organizing their own celebrations in honor of Black History Week. In the late 60’s, colleges expanded the celebrations from a week to a month. And in 1976, President Gerald Ford, officially recognized February as Black History Month, stating, “… seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” (https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month)
Celebrating Black Achievements
Of course, among the greats are Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and other household names. But do you know the story of Rebecca Jane Perkins? She is better known as Betty Hill. Her most prominent work is the desegregation of public pools in South LA, along with founding the local NAACP chapter. In 1926, the playground commission of the City of Los Angeles implemented a new rule stating Black children were only allowed in public pools once a week because of “public welfare.” Hill, a middle-class housewife living in South Los Angeles, sprang into action and filed suit against the commission. In 1929, she formed the Republican Women’s Study Club (later becoming Women’s Political Study Club); and in early 1931, the court ruled against the playground commission and eliminated segregation in recreation centers. For the full story, visit https://la.curbed.com/2019/8/19/20757888/betty-hill-segregation-pools
5 Places to Explore in Celebration of Black History Month
African American Firefighter Museum– The national historic landmark, now houses the African American Firefighter Museum. The building (previously Fire Station 30) was the first fire station that allowed Black firefighters to work in Los Angeles. The African American Firefighter Museum tells the trials and tribulations of Black firefighters during a time of segregation. The museum is only open on Sundays from 1-4pm and is fully volunteer and donation driven. To learn more visit https://www.aaffmuseum.org/about-aaff/
California African American Museum– This museum is at the heart of South Los Angeles and represents Black culture daily. The museum exhibits African American history, art, and culture representative of California. The best part, admission is free! https://www.instagram.com/caaminla/
Happy Ice- Who doesn’t love ice cream? This Black-owned vegan ice cream shop symbolizes pure happiness, making it that much better. Their mission is to “…be a symbol of unity and a better future” (travelnoire.com). You can experience the Philadelphia-Los Angeles infused goodness at 7324 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, 90046 or catch one of their trucks at various locations. Follow them on Facebook to see where they’re headed to next!
Black History Parade and Festival– From 10am to 4pm you can enjoy live music, dance performances, food and lots more at the 41st Annual Pasadena Black History Parade & Festival! The parade will take place on February 18, 2023. It will begin on N. Fair Oaks Avenue and Mountain View Street and will end at 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave (Robinson Park). Once the parade ends the festivities continue at Robinson Park until 4pm. You can find more information by visiting: