BY CAROL BERMUDEZ ENAMORADO
Acting Managing Editor
Morris, Black History Month is a time to recognize the central role of present day African Americans as well as throughout U.S. history. It is widely celebrated through the remembrance and education of events that became fundamental in shaping the country’s future. Leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, are two of the many that have demanded and fought for change, leaving a legacy that is now annually celebrated.
“Dr. King and Malcolm X were both important people. They are the foundation of what helped make our society better than what it used to be today,” said Erik Alexander, 25, hotel and hospitality major at County College or Morris.
It’s important to know about Black History Month in general and to become educated about the issues so you can pass on the knowledge to future generations, said Alexander.
Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play Major League Baseball and broke the baseball color barrier. As a fellow athlete, Alexander considers Robinson a personal role model.
“Jackie Robinson broke many records, yet a lot of his records go unnoticed,” Alexander said. “He’s done a lot for society as far as the Negro National Baseball League is concerned.”
Woodson was the son of former slaves and the second black person to receive a degree from Harvard University, according to biography.com.
Woodson also said he felt the importance of preserving one’s heritage and, upon his urgings, the fraternity Omega Psi Phi created Negro History and Literature Week. Woodson changed the name to Negro History Week and selected the month of February to honor of the birth of two men, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
“It’s a great month in which we actually celebrate what black people have done to shape America and its history,” said Eric Lopez, 19, an accounting major at CCM. “Growing up my parents and my school educated me on Black History Month.”
Black History Month still shapes society and is constantly evolving.
Activists and leaders have been joined by athletes, musicians and writers of today to set examples for people that all forms of judgment can be overcome. Lopez said when February comes around its important to him and his family to recognize what it represents being an African American in America.
“A person that inspires me is Bob Marley,” Lopez said. “I know what it’s like to grow up in Jamaica, he talked about peace and love and I enjoy his music.”