CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY)- Gov. Jim Justice has issued a proclamation recognizing February as Black History Month. The proclamation “encourages all citizens to recognize the many contributions made by African Americans in West Virginia and the nation.”
The annual celebration of Black achievements originated in West Virginia. At first a week-long event, the idea was the creation of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a scholar, journalist, historian, and Huntington educator. On its 50th anniversary, the event was expanded and renamed Black History Month. February has been designated as Black History Month by every U.S. president since 1976 and is recognized by other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom.
“Black History Month is an opportunity to learn how history has influenced and been influenced by African Americans”, said Jill Upson, executive director of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs (HHOMA). “It honors those who have accomplished great things in the past and recognizes those who continue to achieve today. It inspires those who will take the path forward into the future.”
HHOMA marks February 2021 by joining panel discussions, hosting a lecture series, and more. The month concludes with the annual Trailblazer Awards Gala. HHOMA’s events are virtual this year and the public can watch on their Facebook page: facebook.com/WVHHOMA.
Scheduled events include:
Disparities in Health Care During the Pandemic
Feb. 10, 4 p.m.
HHOMA executive director and chair of the West Virginia COVID-19 Advisory Commission on African American Disparities Jill Upson will be a panelist to discuss disparities in health care during the pandemic as part of Marshall University’s Black History Month events.
Black History Lecture Series: Black History and the Legal System
Feb. 13, 5 p.m.
Attorney Elliot Hicks will explore how laws and the legal system have impacted African Americans.
World Day of Social Justice Panel Discussion
Feb. 19, 3 p.m.
Executive Director Upson will be a panelist to discuss what HHOMA is doing to make change in West Virginia Communities.
Black History Lecture Series: Black History and Economic Development
Feb. 21, 5 p.m.
Thaddaus Breckenridge, II will explore the history of economic self-sufficiency and prosperity in the African American community.
Meet the Author!
February 25, 5 p.m.
Vicky Moon discusses her book on Charles Town, West Virginia’s Sylvia Rideoutt Bishop; the first licensed African American female racehorse trainer in the United States.
Annual Trailblazer Awards Gala
February 27, 7 p.m.
HHOMA will conclude Black History Month with the awards event honoring West Virginians within minority communities that exhibit a life of excellence in service.
Click here to view a full calendar of BHM events
The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs, which operates within the Office of Governor Jim Justice, is committed to assisting all underserved citizens across West Virginia and developing innovative ways to address issues affecting minority populations through conversation, education, leadership, and collaboration. For more information, visit our Facebook page at @WVHHOMA, our website at minorityaffairs.wv.gov, or call our office at 304-356-2023.