Word of Prayer: Black History “Never to be Forgotten

Rev. Robert E. McCallum

By Guest Columnist Rev. Robert E. McCallum

The observance of Black history dates back to 1926, when  the well-known historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.”  It was to be a week designed to highlight African American contributions to America. In 1976, President Gerald Ford extended this week to one month. From that time, for one month of the year, African American achievements are noted and celebrated. This special month offers the opportunity to reflect on both the contributions as well as the challenges of Black Americans throughout history. 
Black history is the story of a people, a proud people, a preserving people.  It is the story of how Black Americans fought through overwhelming odds, opposition, and oppression to achieve equality and a sense of personhood, purpose, and pride in America. Determined to overcome the odds, the challenges, the disparities in education, economics, and social conditions, Blacks continued to climb ladders of success and notoriety in every facet of American society. 
Black history records and recounts the history of a people who in times past were left out and overlooked.  It tells the story of how Blacks as a people came from being disenfranchised, disparaged, discredited, disgraced, to becoming positive contributors and award-winning achievers in every walk of life from across this nation.
It recounts the story of how those who were considered second-class citizens went from being servants and sharecroppers who lived in slave houses to becoming chief occupants and legendary law makers in the White House.  
The ongoing recognition of Blacks in America during Black History Month serves as a tool to help us to never forget those trailblazing pioneers who took part in shaping the very fabric of this country, from inventing cotton gins to blood plasma banks. It is a history that must never be forgotten! While the achievements and contributions of Blacks across this country are too numerous to list in this brief article, we must never forget such leaders from Canton as civil rights advocate Annie DeVine; the first Black Supervisor of Madison County J.L McCullough; businessman and civil rights activist C.O. Chinn; Black catholic nun, teacher, musician, and evangelist Sister Thea Bowman; the first Black mayor in Canton Alice Scott; professional football player with the Pittsburg Steelers L.C. Greenwood; and the list goes on. We must never forget!
In the words of Virginia Slims, “We’ve come a long way baby.” God has been good to us, and we must never forget it. Through the blood, sweat and tears of many, we have gone from being a people often discredited to being a people of distinction, and it must never be forgotten!  
Mahalia Jackson in her song, “How I Got Over,” states, “Tell me how I made it over. You know my soul looks back and wonder, how I made it over.” I believe the secret to our success lies in the fact that, in a very special and unique way, we have always been a people of unwavering faith and hope in God.  It is our faith in God that sustained us in our past.  I personally believe it will be our steadfast faith in God that will continue to propel our future. That too, my friends, must never be forgotten.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Reverend Robert E. McCallum is a native of Jackson, Mississippi, and is married to Mrs. Carolyn Frazier McCallum; they are the parents of four children, Robert, Tiffany, Terrell and Timothy. Rev. McCallum is the pastor of Priestley Chapel Missionary Baptist Church in Canton, Mississippi. Most importantly, he has a deep passion and love for people and is committed to the Spiritual progress and well-being of all mankind.



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