Sheryl Lee Ralph: Black History Continues…
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So, it is now official as far as I’m concerned that Black History Month has been unofficially extended by one week. Not because we have a Black man to be thankful to for all the fires that have been put out by the use of fire extinguishers which was patented by Thomas J. Martin, a Black man, or because of all the scoops of ice cream we have been able to get into a cone or on a dish with the help of an ice cream scooper patented by A.L. Cralle, a Black man, or because of the many cars that we have started over our lifetimes with the help of sparkplugs patented by Edmond Berger, a Black man, or how music in American changed when the Blues took center stage with Bessie Smith, a big Black singing woman who sold over 800,000 copies of “Down Hearted Blues.”

No, Black History Month has been extended because during the first week in March, thousands of people are coming from around the world and across these United States to gather in Selma, Alabama to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the blood stained Selma to Montgomery march led by Martin Luther King Jr. and to remember the Voting’s Rights Act of 1965.  As people prepare to once again cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, it is important for us to pay attention to The Voting Rights Act given the recent US Supreme Court decision regarding pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

The weeks (March 5-9th) theme is “Remember, Recommit and Restore” as we ready to meet and join with past and present movers and shapers of the 60’s Freedom Movement that spread across the American South lighting a fire in the hearts of the marginalized, disenfranchised “Negroes” who were often terrorized by American terrorists like the Klu Klux Klan into inaction for fear of their lives. Yes, many of today’s leaders including Americas First African American President, our President Barack Obama. along with many past U.S. Presidents, members of Congress, State Representatives, entertainers and stars of every stripe and color, grassroots operatives, civil rights activists, students, families and more will MARCH to remember that black folks fought and died in America just for the right to vote! They will MARCH to Recommit to the struggle for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without having to fear that you will be shot while driving, walking, or just being Black. They will MARCH to Restore the feeling that there is nothing wrong with demanding better schools that are equal in the quality of education given to all of Americas children.

I believe that God has a plan for us all and Negro History Month which started out as only a day which became a week then turned into a month has been extended by one week this year because maybe Selma the movie wasn’t supposed to win a golden trophy but was supposed to win our hearts and minds and poke us all to REMEMBER the sacrifices of life and limb made by others for us, to RECOMMITT to the struggle for equality for all Americans and to RESTORE the feeling that it is an honored right to vote, to peacefully assemble and even protest. The struggle continues in American and in honor of those who came before us, those who fought, bled and died, I urge you to register and VOTE!!!

Black History continues…