The crackling of the radio signaled a bygone era but the resounding words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. still ring true.
A recording of King’s famous speech from 1963, known to most as his “I Have a Dream” speech, wafted through the speakers during the New Community Extended Care Facility’s commemoration of Black History Month.
The event, held at the nursing home’s activity room, celebrated the rich history of African-Americans and the many accomplishments they have achieved, despite having faced racism, discrimination and other challenges.
Organized by the activities staff at Extended Care, the Black History celebration included readings from staff and residents, educational video, a praise dance performed by Activities Assistant Yonette Semple’s daughter Keianna, and spoken word and music by DJ Ronnie.
Resident Joyce Bates shared a special tribute to President Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, by reciting an original poem titled “Obama.” She said that she wrote the poem to highlight the president’s significant place in history.
Black history also extends beyond the U.S., Sister Elizabeth Lima reminded the attendees. A native of Tanzania, Lima prepared a brief presentation on the country’s first president, Julius K. Nyerere. She noted that the Tanzanian national flag does not include the color red because the country was founded through a democratic process that did not involve bloodshed.
Black History Month was officially recognized in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. However, its origins date back to 1915, when historian Carter Woodson and Jesse Moorland, a minister, founded an organization dedicated to promoting the achievements of blacks. The group, which is now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, sponsored a national “Negro History Week” in 1926 on the second week of February, which coincided with the birthdays of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.