February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate the rich history of the African American community and honor the inspiring individuals who have left their footprint on our country.
This year’s theme celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. During February, the country will commemorate these two events that forever changed the U.S. As a brief history lesson, the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 during the Cival War. In his decree, Lincoln ordered all slaves in Confederate terrority to be freed.
Hundreds of years later, at the March on Washington in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. paid tribute to Lincoln in his “I Have a Dream” speech:
“Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity…In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check.”
The March on Washington brought together 250,000 people for a peaceful demonstration to advocate for civil rights — 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Participants walked the streets of Washington D.C. and then gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for MLK’s speech. The March on Washington is considered the high point of the Civil Rights Movement, leading to the passing of civil rights legistation and new ways of thinking about racial equality.
How CSR is honoring Black History Month
Our Corporate Social Responsibility team is teaming up with First Book, a non-profit organization that collects and supplies children’s books to fight literacy. In honor of Black History Month, we are giving a $10,000 grant to First Book to donate diversity-themed books in a few of our BlueCities.