Black History Month

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Benny Salazar Zarate

This MLK banner can be found at the main entrance at the school. It’s purpose is for the Black History Month.

Benny Salazar Zarate, Staff Reporter

In the month of February, the U.S. celebrates the accomplishments of the black people. Black people have been in the United States from the very beginning. Unfortunately, not as citizens but as slaves. The tradition of celebrating the black people can be traced back to 1969, but this would have never happened if it wasn’t for all those black people in the past who have been trying to make the U.S. a better place for every race. 

Slavery in North America can be traced back to 1619, when Dutch ships brought 20 Africans to the British colonies in Jamestown, Virginia. Slavery quickly spread out and roughly 6-7 million Africans were transported to the U.S. Later on, Congress prohibited bringing new slaves in 1808, but the population of the black people have almost tripled in size during the following 50 years. In 1793, the famous cotton gin was invented and cotton was cultivated in the whole South. Due to this great discovery, African slaves were in high demand which means the torture for the slaves increased. Then in August 1831, the famous Nat Turner Revolt took place and he, along with other black people, killed his owners and killed another 60 white people. Finally, the state militia and some armed local white people caught all of them and killed around 100 black people. Turner escaped and he stayed hidden for 2 weeks before they found him and eventually hanged him.

Not so long after, white Quakers started to take matters into their hands to stop slavery and started hiding slaves in their homes to then take them to the North. If this sounds familiar, it’s because this was the beginning of the famous Underground Railroad, in which Harriet Tubman and many more black and white people, took a part of and helped many slaves escape to freedom. It is said that Harriet saved 300 slaves in just 19 trips. As she mentioned to Frederick Douglass, she had never lost one of her “passengers”.

In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his most famous speech in Washington D.C. There were so many people there, listening to MLK’s powerful words, that no one was able to count how many people had attended. Little did they know that in 6 years, their beloved leader would die in the hands of James Earl Ray, a white supremacist that was against Martin’s beliefs.

Now in the present day U.S., we honor all of the accomplishments of the black community and we even have a whole month for that. The Black Lives Matter movement is an example of the efforts the present generation has made to end racism and to end inequality. Although it may take a while for that to happen, something we have learned from all those black people in the past is that perseverance is the key.