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Black History Near Your Roosevelt Island Apartment

February 3, 2022

February is Black History Month, and the first Black History Month took place at Kent State University in 1970 after Black educators and the Black United Students proposed a way to honor and highlight the African diaspora’s shared history.

Six years after the first celebration at Kent State, Black History Month was being celebrated all across our country in educational institutions, centers of Black culture and community centers, both great and small. When President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month in 1976, during the celebration of the US Bicentennial, he urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history”.

In the Black community, Black History Month was met with enthusiastic response; it prompted the creation of Black history clubs, with an increase in interest among teachers, and interest from progressive whites. Today, it was a nationwide event with college majors dedicated entirely to the study of Black History. Taught in schools of all demographics across our nation, names like Fredrick Douglas and Harriet Tubman have become just as synonymous with American history as figures like George Washington and John Adams.

While we have a way to go for true equality in America, we can start by learning our shared history, as Black History is just as much American History as the stories of our white founding fathers. To learn a bit more about Black History, this month and every month of year, check out this local educational resource near your apartment.

Lewis Latimer House Museum – Lewis Latimer was a brilliant inventor and scientist who worked with the likes of Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram S. Maxim, and Thomas Edison. He was the son of fugitive slaves and spent part of his life in Flushing from 1903 until he died in 1928. You can visit the very house which serves as a museum today, featuring historical artifacts and information about his life and home. They also have special exhibits, like the current one Race and Revolution: Home/Land which compares features of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 with the practices of Immigration Customs Enforcement today.

Lewis Latimer House Museum 34-41 137th St, Queens, NY 11354

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