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black history month, barack obama, martin luther king jr., frederick douglass

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Barack Obama, Frederick Douglass

Comedian Chris Rock once famously joked that Black History Month is in February because it’s the “shortest month of the year, and the coldest—just in case we want to have a parade.” Given the lessons that come with studying Black history, it’s not too far-fetched to believe Rock’s explanation.

However, there are in fact two very important reasons why the month was chosen and they have nothing to do with the weather or parades, and everything to do with the abolition of slavery.

Long before Black History Month was established, Black people would often celebrate the emancipation of the slaves in February because it was the month that abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln were born.

Lincoln was born on the 12th and Douglass’ actual birthday was never recorded, but he celebrated it on the 14th.

Douglass was an escaped slave who became a prominent activist, author, public speaker and leader in the abolitionist movement. President Lincoln paved the way for the 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery.


Carter G. Woodson

via Wikimedia Commons

The push for what would become Black History Month started in 1915 when Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson attended a 50th-anniversary celebration of the 13th Amendment. The three-week-long event featured various exhibits about the history of Black culture in America. The event inspired Woodson to form the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH) and write a book “The Journal of Negro History.”

In 1924, Woodson’s fraternity created Negro Achievement Week. Over the next few decades communities across the country began to celebrate what evolved into Negro History Week and the ASALH expanded the idea to become Black History Month.

In 1976, President Ford made it official declaring February Black History Month, and asked Americans to "seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history."

The 2022 Black History Month theme is Black Health and Wellness. This focus celebrates the contributions and breakthroughs of Black professionals as well as to “nontraditional” health and wellness practitioners.

President Barack Obama made a speech in 2016 about why we celebrate Black History Month and he did a great job at encapsulating why and how it should be celebrated. Obama’s speech at the White House—a building built by slaves—is a testament to one of the central messages behind the month. We celebrate Black History Month to learn from our past to build a better future.

"Black History Month shouldn’t be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history, or somehow just boiled down to a compilation of greatest hits from the March on Washington, or from some of our sports heroes," President Obama said.

"It’s about the lived, shared experience of all African Americans, high and low, famous and obscure, and how those experiences have shaped and challenged and ultimately strengthened America. It’s about taking an unvarnished look at the past so we can create a better future. It’s a reminder of where we as a country have been so that we know where we need to go."

Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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The Giving Keys is a jewelry company that's a bit unconventional, only because they believe that all of their gifts are meant to be regifted. It's a pay it forward, give on to others type of mentality and it in turn gives their pieces that little bit of extra meaning. Each of their keys comes with a story attached, once you decide exactly what that is...

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10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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