The Black Family

February 19, 2021

In September 1915, Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded what is now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).  The purpose of the organization was to promote achievements by Black Americans.

ASALH sponsored the first national Negro History Week in February 1926.  Negro History Week continued to grow throughout the years and with the help of the Civil Rights movement, began to morph into Black History Month at many college campuses.

President Gerald Ford officially proclaimed February as Black History Month in 1976.  He called upon the nation to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme established by ASALH.  The Black History Month theme for 2021 is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity”.

Throughout American history, the Black Family has been misrepresented and underrepresented.  They’ve had their identities stripped and stolen.  They’ve been ignored and denied opportunities.  They’ve been tested, tried, and torn apart but have persevered.  Nonetheless, the inequities and disparities in America continue to challenge their very existence.

The statistics are alarming:

  • 1 in 1,000 Black men and boys will die at the hands of police
  • 1 in 3 Black children live in poverty
  • 1 in 2.5 Black adults were unemployed or temporarily furloughed in April 2020
  • 1 in 1,350 Black Americans have died of COVID-19
  • 1 in 6.5 Black students are suspended from school
  • 1 in 13 Black Americans of voting age are disenfranchised

As a member of Pocono Mountains United Way’s Board of Directors, I am proud of the work that we’re doing to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in Monroe County.  Barack Obama said, “change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek.”

In celebration of Black History Month and in support of the Black Family, I invite YOU to be the change and join Pocono Mountains United Way in our work to improve the quality of life for all.

Tameko Patterson
Sanofi Pasteur
Board Member, Pocono Mountains United Way


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