We celebrated the start of Black History Month with an assembly from the school’s Diversity Committee on influential Black artists, sportspeople and activists from the last century.
Each committee member spoke about a figure who has inspired them. These included: drag artist and gay liberation activist, Marsha P Johnson, who was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969; Dina Washington, the ‘Queen of Blues’ and one of the most famous female singer/songwriters of the 1950s who could turn her hand to any genre; Gwendolyn Brooks, recipient of 70 honorary degrees from colleges around the country and former Poet Laureate of the United States whose works examined the ordinary lives of Black people and the ongoing struggle for civil rights; Jackie Robinson, the first African American baseball player to cross the divide between the segregated American baseball leagues and who Martin Luther King Jr credits as the person who made his success possible; and Dr Charles Drew, pioneer in the field of blood transfusions and blood banks and the first Director of the American Red Cross who used his position to challenge discriminatory practices within the medical profession.
Black History Month is both a celebration of Black successes and an important time to commemorate the injustice and cruelty faced by Black people. We thank the Diversity Committee for bringing the unheralded accomplishments of these often overlooked individuals to the attention of our school, and we look forward to continuing our celebration of Black history throughout October.