Shaheen & Gordon’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee hopes you find this information insightful and educational
February is recognized as Black History Month. The month honors those who have endured centuries of struggle, and those who continue to fight for civil rights. February was chosen as Black history month because two important figures in black history were born in February: Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass.
Carter G. Woodson was the force behind Black History Month when he and the organization he founded, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
The celebration grew over the years and was expanded to a month in 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” That year, fifty years after the first celebration, the association held the first African American History Month.
1st Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a festival celebrating the start of the new year in the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Great activities to celebrate Chinese New Year include eating a reunion dinner with family on New Year’s Eve, setting off firecrackers and fireworks, putting up decorations, and giving red envelopes and other gifts. This year is the Year of the Tiger. It is said that children born in the year ahead will be brave, competitive, and strong.
It culminates with a Lantern Festival on February 15, 2022.
1st Greensboro Sit-Ins (1960)
In Greensboro, North Carolina, four African American students sat down and ordered coffee at a lunch counter inside a Woolworth's store. They were refused service but did not leave. Instead, they waited all day. The scene was repeated over the next few days, with protests spreading to other southern states, resulting in the eventual arrest of over 1,600 persons for participating in sit-ins.
Some were arrested and charged with trespassing. Protesters launched a boycott of all segregated lunch counters until the owners caved and the original four students were finally served at the Woolworth’s lunch counter where they’d first stood their ground.
3rd 15th Amendment (1870)
The ratification of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed the right of citizens to vote, regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
5th 1917 – Congress passes the Immigration Act of 1917, which includes an "Asiatic Barred Zone," banning Chinese, Asian Indians, Burmese, Thai, Malays, and others. Japan is not on the list of those excluded, as prohibitions against immigrants from that country are already in place, nor is the Philippines, as it is a U.S. territory.
8th The Dawes Act (1887)
On this date in 1887, President Grover Cleveland signed the Dawes Act (sometimes called the Dawes Severalty Act or General Allotment Act), giving the president the authority to divide up land allotted to Native Americans in reservations to individuals. The Act essentially ended tribal control of reservations and divided their land into individual holdings, providing that every head of each Native American family was to get 160 acres of tribal land, while every individual would get 80 acres.
This Act was predominantly seen as an alternative to mass genocide by U.S. forces. It was named for its chief author, Senator Henry Laurens Dawes from Massachusetts, and reversed the long-standing American policy of allowing Indian tribes to maintain their traditional practice of communal use and control of their lands. Women received no land.
10th 2020 – The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a ruling that the state of Idaho must provide gender confirmation surgery for Adree Edmo, an inmate in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction. The ruling marks the first time a Federal Appeals Court has ruled that a state must provide gender assignment surgery to an incarcerated person. According to the Court opinion, the gender confirmation surgery (GCS) was “medically necessary” for Edmo and, as a result, the Court ordered the State to provide the surgery.
In July 2020, Edmo receives her gender confirmation surgery and a May 2020 appeal by Lawrence Wasden, Attorney General of Idaho, is denied as moot by the US Supreme Court in October 2020.
11th 1990 – Nelson Mandela, South African Black Nationalist, was freed after 27 years in prison.
11th Happy Birthday, TAMMY BALDWIN
Baldwin was the first openly LGBTQ+ woman elected to the House of Representatives and to the Senate in 1999 and 2013, respectively.
14th Happy Birthday, FREDERICK DOUGLASS (1817-1895)
An escaped slave who became a prominent activist, author, and public speaker. Douglass became a leader in the abolitionist movement and sought to end the practice of slavery even before the Civil War. His work served as an inspiration to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and his legacy lives on in his revolutionary work toward equal rights.
14th Happy Birthday, ANNA HOWARD SHAW (1847-1919)
Minister, physician, ardent feminist, and masterful orator, Shaw was the second woman ever to graduate from Boston University School of Theology. She went on to lead the women’s suffrage movement along with Susan B. Anthony.
15th Parinirvana orNirvana Day (Buddhism)
This is a Mahayana Buddhist festival that marks the death of the Buddha. It is also known as Nirvana Day. Buddhists celebrate the death of the Buddha because they believe that having attained Enlightenment, he achieved freedom from physical existence and its sufferings. Present day celebrations often include meditating and reading The Parinirvana Sutta which describes the Buddha's last days.
19th Executive Order 9066 (1942)
Internment of Japanese Americans began after President Franklin Roosevelt issued an Executive Order requiring those living on the Pacific coast to report for relocation. Over 110,000 persons therefore shut down their businesses, sold off their property, quit school and moved inland to the relocation centers.
World Day of Social Justice (United Nations)
An international day recognizing the need to promote social justice, which includes efforts to tackle issues such as poverty, exclusion, gender equality, unemployment, human rights, and social protections.
21st Assassination of Malcolm X (1925-1965)
This African American civil rights leader and prominent figure in the Nation of Islam was shot and killed while delivering a speech in a New York City ballroom. Malcom X was known for articulating concepts of Black identity, integrity, and independence in the early 1960s. Through the influence of the Nation of Islam, Malcom X helped to change the terms used to refer to African Americans from “Negro” and “coloured” to “Black” and “Afro-American.” After his assassination, the widespread distribution of his life story - The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) made him an ideological hero.
26th 2018 – The Pentagon confirms that the first transgender person has signed a contract to join the US military.
27th 1922 – The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees women the right to vote.
- https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/cleveland-signs-the-dawes-severalty-act https://www.powwows.com/10-of-the-most-important-dates-for-native-american-history/
- https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-movement#section_6 https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/frederick-douglass https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/holydays/parinirvana.shtml https://www.britannica.com/biography/Malcolm-X