Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Celebrate achievements of past leaders
By the Advocate Editorial Board
Feb. 3, 2014 at 6 p.m.
Updated Feb. 2, 2014 at 8:03 p.m.
Every February, people across the nation observe Black History Month. During this time, residents look back at some of the people who have helped shape today's world by their efforts in the past.
Black History Month began in 1926 as Negro History Week, according to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History website. It was created by Carter G. Woodson, an alumnus of the University of Chicago, and was timed to line up with two days black Americans already celebrated: the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on Feb. 12 and Frederick Douglass on Feb. 14. His hope was to inspire black Americans to learn about their history and the accomplishments of their past. The celebration received an overwhelming response, and celebrations took place in both schools and the public. It continued to grow in popularity into the 1960s, when the civil rights movement was at its height and the shift toward a full month of celebration began to occur nationwide. In 1976, the Association changed the celebration to Black History Month, which has been endorsed by every United States president since.
The Crossroads has made its own contributions to black history in America - good and bad. Before the Civil War, ports in Calhoun County were used in part for the slave trade, according to the Texas State Historical Association website. Inez was the birthplace of Daniel "80 John" Webster Wallace, who was one of the wealthiest and most respected black ranchers in Texas history. Victoria was home to Dr. Charles A. Dudley, one of Victoria's first black physicians, who worked with NAACP attorney and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall during the civil rights movement and is the namesake of Dudley Elementary School.
These are just a few pieces of black history in the Crossroads. Just like any other history, it has its ups and downs, but we know that today's world is much better thanks to the efforts and advancements made by those who came before us. We encourage Crossroads residents to take part in Black History Month events this year and help pass on the legacy of achievement to future generations. Part of who you are came from what came before you. So we pay homage to the past so that we can learn from it and create a brighter future.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.