This past month, we have celebrated Black History Month which reflects and honors centuries and decades of Black American history and heritage.
The celebration runs from February 1 to March 1 and was started in 1926 when Dr. Carter G. Woodson, founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), established ‘Negro History Week’ on the second week of February to promote further knowledge of black history. The date was intentionally chosen to commemorate the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two important figures to Black history. However, it was not until 1976 that the celebration changed from a one-week observance to an entire month.1
Today, Black History Month is celebrated throughout the U.S. and in countries around the world including Canada and the United Kingdom. In recognition of Black History Month, CCM’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee organized several activities. Each week during the month, team members hosted a workshop on a specific theme or important figure in Black American history. This was kicked off by listening to Stevie Wonder’s 1980 ‘Happy Birthday’ song and learning about its importance to Martin Luther King Day. It was followed by information sessions on Black pioneers in the field of medicine and vaccination including Charles Drew, a pioneer of blood transfusions and Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the first surgeon to perform a successful open-heart surgery on a human. Other notable workshops were held for Otis Boykin, Samuel Kountz, and Percy Julian.
One of the seminars was on Frederick M. Jones, the first Black American to receive the National Medal of Technology Award, although this recognition was given to him in 1991, 30 years after his death. He has significant contributions to innovating American mechanics and technology. This last week highlighted the work of Thurgood Marshall and his achievements as the first Black American Solicitor General and first Black American to serve on the Supreme Court of the U.S.
In addition to our firm-wide workshops to honor Black History Month, today we published a new report “Addressing the Black Homeownership Gap in America” as part of a new firm series on affordable homeownership. Highlights of the report include how Black Americans struggle with a deep wealth gap which has been exacerbated by COVID-19 and ways to mend the Black homeownership gap in America. For more information, read our press release here and download the full report here.
It has been an exciting month at CCM learning more about Black American history and celebrating an important and significant occasion.