Image of Department Logo
Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon,

Lawrence G. Rebman,
Department Director

FOR PRESS INQUIRIES, CONTACT:  Amy Susan (573) 751-1518
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  February 22, 2011

Black History Month, a Time to Remember

In 1976, Pres. Gerald Ford officially designated February as Black History Month, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Although America will celebrate its 35th annual Black History Month in 2011, its origins go back even further than that.

In 1926, to educate the American people about the cultural background and achievements of African Americans, Carter Woodson initiated Negro History Week. He chose the second week in February, which included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, both leaders in equality.

Each year is given a theme. This year’s theme is African-Americans and the Civil War. Nearly 200,000 free blacks and slaves joined up on the side of the Union and fought for freedom, serving as recruiters, soldiers, nurses and spies. Their record of service speaks volumes, and their efforts to save the Union have never fully been recognized.

For the past 150 years, America has come a long way in recognizing the achievements and contributions of African-American citizens and has developed into one of the strongest nations in the world because of it. Labor in our state has become more robust and competitive as we are able to utilize all of the many great talents and skills of our diverse workforce.

“This month, I ask every Missourian of our state to remember what our black leaders have done for us in the past in hopes we can all do our part in making our future better,” says Department Director Larry Rebman.

First Black Astronaut, Guion S. Bluford
Guion S. Bluford
First African-American Astronaut
Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks
Civil Rights Activist
George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver
Scientist, Botanist, Educator, and Inventor


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