Ulster County Board of REALTORS® Celebrates Black History Month
Each February, Black History Month honors the accomplishments of African Americans as well as acknowledges the barriers and struggles they broke through. Black History Month is also known as African American History Month, which was taken from “Negro History Week”, which was originally an initiative by eminent African Americans, Carter G. Woodson, and others. Since 1976, every U.S. President has proclaimed February to be Black History Month. The United Kingdom and Canada are the only two other nations that celebrate Black History Month to honor the achievements of the black community as well as the struggles they faced as “second-class citizens” in their home countries.
There have been a number of achievements that the African American community. There was Matthew Hanson, who along with Admiral Robert Peary, became one of the first men to reach the North Pole in 1909. Another great achievement was by track superstar, Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics in 1936.
The famous Jackie Robinson made history in 1947 by becoming the first African American man to play on a major league baseball team. His draft to the Brooklyn Dodgers made history and stride in the community since at that time the African American community was seen as “lesser” than white Americans.
Althea Gibson was the first African American woman to play on predominately white golf and tennis teams, helping to pave the way to end segregation in sports. In 1956, she was the first African American woman to win the French Open. She paved the way for many athletes today, such as the famous Williams sisters.
One of, perhaps, the most crucial accomplishment for the African American community was in 2008 when America finally had its first African American president. The community has also been underrepresented, especially in politics and to have the leader of the country showed how far the community has come.
Other than achievements in sports and politics, the African American community has provided us with items that are part of our everyday lives thanks to the innovation from African American scientists, doctors, and other creatives. We can thank Daniel Hale Williams for having open-heart surgery available to help save more lives. Williams established the Provident Hospital and Training School Association in Chicago, IL. He performed the first open heart surgery in 1893, which also made history as it was the first time a patient had their chest cavity opened without the patient having died of an infection.
Daniel Hale Williams
Photo Courtesy of blackpast.org
Another great feat we can thank the African American community for is Illusion Transmitter. NASA physicist, Valerie Thomas, made it possible for NASA and other scientists to have the ability to better study Earth thanks to her invention. The Illusion Transmitter transmits an optical illusion in 3D that on the receiving end shows a “real image”. This technology helped scientists to have a better image of Earth and other matter in our solar system and the device is still used today by NASA.
Valerie Thomas Photo Courtesy of peoplepill.com
The African American community has also made great strides in the real estate industry. There are a number of black-owned realtor firms as well as a growing number of black realtors, especially right here in the Hudson Valley, NY region! Having this representation in the real estate field is not only great for the African American community to be in another industry, but this representation also helps black homeowners who face a lot more barriers compared to other homeowner groups. Having a real estate agent who understands your exact struggles can help them navigate getting around these challenges.
We have so much to thank the African American community for. We honor their achievements and history every February, however, just like all other aspects of history and achievements, we should be celebrating them every day of the year.