February is Black History Month and during these 28 days, businesses, colleges, groups, community leaders, etc. celebrate the past trailblazers and today's role models. February was chosen for this national celebration because of the birthdays of two very important men in US history, President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
Last year, TDC celebrated this important national dedication by spotlighting Black-owned businesses in Clinton County. We urge you take another look at these three businesses that enrich our community with their commitment to culture, arts, partnerships, and the sense of community itself. It is also a time to take a deeper dive into our local Black history and read more about the underground railroad, the Adirondacks, and Clinton County.
Black History Month is a time take a deeper dive into American history while celebrating Black achievements. In the USA and Canada, as mentioned, it is celebrated in February. Other countries choose different months, but all have the same goal. In North America, each year a theme is chosen. This year's theme is Black Resistance which commemorates how African Americans resisted historic and ongoing oppression. The 1950s and 1970s in the United States, resistance was defined by actions such as sit-ins, boycotts, walk outs, strikes by Black people and white allies in the fight for justice against discrimination in all sectors of society from employment to education to housing (asalh.org 2023). The resistance continues today in many systems, industries and sectors that continue to oppress. Themes were created to help navigate Americans through a more focused reflection on Black culture and experiences.
Last year was the first year TDC publicly celebrated Black History Month and in doing so, Black-owned businesses in Clinton County were spotlighted. We invite you to read the blog and to visit the businesses we highlighted.
Black History Month presents a learning opportunity to research our history, on all levels, locally, national and globally. It is a time to celebrate the magnificence of African American history and culture while paying homage to the trailblazers of the past and present. The celebration of Black history and culture cannot be one month out of the year, it should be celebrated frequently as inequities are still evident today. Here is a list of ways you can celebrate Blackness during the month of February and in the future:
Jacqueline (Jackie) Madison, the North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association (NCUGRHA) Board President has provided us with a short list of books to read to honor this month. Jackie is heavily involved in research and community events such as NCUGRHA Juneteenth celebrations. In 2021, NCUGRHA participated in or held 20 programs/events! Some include reading and discussion groups, virtual talks, local tours, historic marker celebrations, suffrage discussions and many more. Jackie suggests the following books to read:
Jackie also invites all community members to attend the 2023 NCUGRHA Juneteenth celebrations. Starting June 17, the activities will focus on history beginning at the NCURHA museum to speak about Juneteenth, and then guests will move to local sites for reenactments. They will include Stephen Keese Smith, Samuel Keese, Frederick Douglass, Catherine Keese and Marjorie Lansing Porter just to name a few. Participants will then go to Elizabethtown for a speech from "John Brown" and a showing of his route home for burial. There may be a parade which will end the celebration that day.
On Sunday, June 18 a barbecue will be provided at the John Brown Farm and there will be music and fun filled activities. The NCUGRHA is considering bringing in vendors to showcase their products. Jackie will provide more details in the future, so stay tuned!
For more information about Black History Month, here are some additional websites you may visit: