By Dianne Foglesong, Communications Director
In 1976, during the commemoration of the United States bicentennial of the country’s founding, Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s organization, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, called and celebrated January as Black History Month. Born to previously enslaved parents, Woodson grew up amidst poverty and oppression during the Reconstruction Era in the late 1880s. In 1912, he completed his Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. (Vince Vaise and John Fowler, National Park Service.gov) During this Black History Month, we also remember the civil rights contributions of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Take the virtual tour of the Maggie L Walker National Historic site in Richmond, Virginia, to learn more about the first African American woman who founded a bank and was a civil rights activist.
President Ronald Reagan established Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a federal holiday in 1983, and all 50 states made it a state government holiday by 2000. Officially, King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. But the King holiday is marked every year on the third Monday in January. Today we celebrate this holiday to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy, who modeled solutions for racism using nonviolence to promote change.
Our IOKDS founder, Margaret Bottome, was never interested in politics unless she thought any law or custom was unchristian. (curated by former IOKDS Historian and 26’th International IOKDS President). Dr. King said, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Consistent with that perspective today, IOKDS members embody God’s love to improve others’ lives of all ages and circumstances.
The Silver Cross magazine’s spring issue will feature an article highlighting the contributions of our African American members from our IOKDS History Volumes I-IV. Should you have pertinent local records on this subject, please help us expand the stories by contacting PastPresident2020@gmail.com.