Black History Month
Reflecting back, looking forward
February is Black History Month and this year's theme deals with the Brown v. the Board of Education decision, the landmark case that outlawed legalized racial segregation in public schools.
The theme for Black History Month 2004 is "Before Brown/Beyond Boundaries: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education."
May 17 will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1954 Supreme Court decision.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kan., is considered a landmark case because it declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional, paving the way for blacks and whites to go to school together.
In Brown v. Board of Education, the court said "in these days, it is doubtful that any child may be reasonably expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity must be made available to all on equal terms." Through this simple sentence, the theory of "separate but equal" was done away with and ordered states to provide equal educational opportunities for all students
Other landmark events in the struggle for Civil Rights include:
On Dec.5, blacks began a boycott of the bus system which continued until shortly after Dec. 13, 1956, when the United States Supreme Court outlawed bus segregation in the city.
The move marked the first time the federal government took major steps to uphold civil rights for black Americans.
In the following week riots occurred in at least 125 places throughout the country.
Black History Month was started by Carter G. Woodson, who felt the contributions of African Americans were often overlooked in their history. The month includes education and cultural programs throughout the country.
, and Dr. Roderick Paige as Secretary of Education.