3rd Place - Oluwatomike Adeboyejo
Age 15, 9th grade
Westlake High School
in Waldorf, MD
Why is Black History Month Important?
Black History month is an annual celebration of the achievements for the individual African-American’s who made contributions to our civilizations. February marks the beginning of Black History Month allows a special time to acknowledge the positive impact that so many Afircan-Americans made on our lives. Black History month is celebrated in the United States and was founded in the 1920’s by an African-American scholar named Dr. Carter Goodwin Woodson. He initially founded it as Negro History Week in order to bring national attention to the contributions of African-American’s throughout American history. Unfortunately, this was not initially embraced.
Dr. Woodson organized lectures, meetings, exhibitions and symposia in his efforts to establish February as black history month. The month of February is significant in the lives of African-Americans for several reasons. February is a marker for several historical events that impacted the lives of African-Americans such the Fifteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution giving African-Americans men the right to vote by declaring that the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridges by the United States or by any state on the account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. On February 25, 1870 Hiram Rhodes Revels of Mississippi was sworn as the first African-American U.S senator and on February 1st, 1865 John S. Rock became the first African-American lawyer admitted to practice before the Supreme Court.
Undoubtedly, many impressive achievements have been accomplished by African-Americans during the month of February. Fortunately, Dr. Woodson’s campaign was successful initially recognized as “Negro History Week” was expanded to include the entire month of February. February was chosen because the birthdays of two important people that influences the African-American population. Fredrick Douglass a civil right leader, the abolitionist and President Abraham Lincoln who signed the Emancipation Proclamation which abolished slavery in the American confederate state falls in the month. In addition the birthday of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People occurred in February. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
In my life I feel as if Harriet Tubman impacted my life the most because she was a humanitarian, who made a change by helping slaves escape to the North for freedom and also took care of wounded soldiers. Harriet Tubman was referred to as the Moses of her people. She was widely known and well respected woman. Harriet Tubman was born into slavery. No one is sure of the exact date of birth because slave masters did not record birthdates for slave. But different account list 1821 or 1829.
Her birth place was near Buck town, Dorchester County, Maryland. Harriet was the 11th child born to Benjamin Ross and Harriet Greene. Her given name was Araminta and she was often called “Minty” as a child. Araminta suffered a head injury as age 15 when she boldly blocked a slave from being punished. But from that day she lived with reoccurring blackouts.
In Araminta teen years she changed her first name to her mother’s name Harriet. Harriet was not allowed to have education because the slave owners did not allow there slaves to learn how to read or write because they were afraid that if they were taught to read and write they would no longer listen and obey their master. When Harriet was 25 she married free slave named John Tubman. Just because Harriet married a free slave did not mean she was free too. She lived in fear every day thinking that she would be shipped away. Harriet planned to run away but did not tell John; she knew that if she told John of her plans to run away, he would report her. One night Harriet set out on foot.
With some help she had from a friendly white women. Harriet was on her way to freedom. At night time she followed the North Stare making her way to Pennsylvania. In the following year she returned to Maryland and guided her sister and her sister’s two children to freedom. She made another trip back to the South to rescue her brother and two other men. On her third return, she went to rescue her husband but to find her husband had remarried. On her way she found other slaves looking for the way to freedom and escorted them to the North. Harriet later remarried but never had kids. Harriet Tubman is the most known conductor of all the Underground Railroad conductors.
Harriet Tubman made 19 trips into the South and guided over 300 slaves to freedom and never lost a single passenger. Around 1858, Harriet teamed up with John Brown as he plotted a raid on Harper’s Ferry; Virginia Harriet was a nurse and a teacher. In 1865, Harriet began caring for wounded black soldiers as the matron of the Colored Hospital at Fortress Monroe, Virginia. On March 10, 1912, Harriet Tubman surrounded by family and friends died from pneumonia. She was buried with military honors at Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn. Years after her death, she became an American icon. Harriet Tubman’s life is very inspiring and if I was in her shoes I wouldn’t do anything differently.
She influenced my life in many significant ways. Most importantly, I have a variety of opportunities today. Even though America’s Civil Right Movement was born until the 1950s African-American battle against equal rights and racism in the slavery era. There were many blacks who fought to have slavery outlawed. They were called “abolitionists” or those who wanted to abolish slavery and Harriet Tubman was one of them and if she had not done what see did, my choice, my freedom that so many take for granted would not be available to me. Her accomplishments have made it possible for me to achieve today.