February 2021: 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 the history and lives of all Americans, including African Americans, 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 struggle for freedom and pay tribute to their continuous pursuit of overcoming 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 provide insight into building an environment in Michigan that supports our continued efforts 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, “The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity” has been selected to emphasize the Black family as the nexus for exploring the African past and present and to examine its impact on different facets of the lives of African Americans, including parenting, childhood, marriage, gender norms, sexuality, and incarceration; and,


WHEREAS, during this month, we should take time to recognize and celebrate African Americans’ contributions, sacrifice, and bravery on their journey to justice in our nation and work together to identify, develop, and implement solutions to further achieve equity in our state, as well as promote unity not only within the Black community but across all individuals and communities throughour our state regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and any other expressions of identity;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim February 2021 as Black History Month in Michigan.