February is Black History Month

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Maya Angelou

Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. This celebration started as national Negro History week in 1926, inspiring schools and communities nationwide to organize celebrations.  By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of Black identity, Black History Month evolved on many college campuses.

In 1976 President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling upon the citizens of the United States to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”  Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.

Given the events in 2020, our society has embraced a renewed focus on racial equity and Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs. It seems that, finally, DEI will be more than window dressing and Public Relations statements made by companies.  Instead, resources are being used to ensure all aspects of the talent management lifecycle are rid of bias and embrace the reality that diversity at the table increases innovation, profit, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.