February 2020: Black History Month

WHEREAS, African Americans have made significant cultural, historical, and economic contributions to the development of America and the American way of life; and,


WHEREAS, Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week in 1926 to rectify the omission of African Americans from history books and to encourage the study of African American life and history, particularly in the nation’s public schools; and,


WHEREAS, after being expanded to a month in 1976, every U.S. president, including Michigan’s own President Gerald R. Ford, officially designated the month of February as Black History Month every year; and,


WHEREAS, since then, the celebration of Black History Month has been important to appreciating and recognizing the crucial roles African Americans have played in the creation of America and their inalienable right to be treated equally, while increasing the visibility of African American life and history; and,


WHEREAS, the state of Michigan also recognizes the strength, endurance, and faith of African American ancestors in their struggles for freedom and pay tribute to their continuous pursuit of overcoming these injustices; and,  


WHEREAS, studying this important part of our history and reflecting on the burdens of racial prejudice and stereotypes can open the door to innovative ideas and insight into building an environment in Michigan that continues to combat racism, to strive toward racial equity, and to be a place of freedom, opportunity, and inclusiveness for everyone; and,


WHEREAS, this year’s theme, “African Americans and the Vote,” has been selected to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, which granted black men the right to vote as well as highlights the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote; and emphasizes that the voting rights of the citizens of the United States should not be denied in any state regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude; and,


WHEREAS, during this month, we should take time to recognize and celebrate African Americans’ many contributions and their sacrifice and bravery on their journey to justice in our nation, and work together to identify, develop, and promote solutions to further achieve equity in our state;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim February 2020 as Black History Month in Michigan.