Black History Month is a time to reflect on parts of history that have helped shape the America we live in today. A time where we can acknowledge the struggle to obtain fundamental human rights. A time where we can admire those that died in the ongoing fight for civil rights. A time where we can honor significant legacies that have paved the way for key industries today. A time to embrace possibilities to come.
Here at Modern Vintage, we are grateful for the collective impacts of those who paved the way. This year we celebrated on a weekly basis by intentionally studying and highlighting various celebrations, trailblazers and discoveries that have all contributed to the culture, history, and heritage led by Black America!
Our first weekly highlight of the month focused on ten trailblazers that broke through ceilings and dismantled stereotypes in the medical field. Their hard-fought contributions went on to aid the health of millions of others, and the least they deserve is an appreciative mention. The highlighted pioneers are as follows:
Rebecca Lee Crumpler, MD
James McCune Smith, MD
Leonidas Harris Berry, MD
Charles Richard Drew, MD
Louis Wade Sullivan, MD
Marilyn Hughes Gaston, MD
Patricia Era Bath, MD
Herbert W. Nickens, MD
Alexa Irene Canady, MD
Regina Marcia Benjamin, MD, MBA
In celebration of its 112th birthday on February 12th of this year, we focused our next highlight of the month on the NAACP! Founded by an interracial group of some 60 people, the NAACP has become America’s largest and widely recognized civil rights organization.
Of the six major areas of inequality that African Americans face are: education, public safety & criminal justice, voting rights & political representation, and expanding youth and young adult engagement – Dr. Marjorie Innocent leads the development and management of the NAACP’s health department.
Next up, we turned our focus to the profound history that exists right here in Sugar Land. After abolishing slavery, various local sugar cane plantations became the new homes of many prisoners due to the unjust convict leasing program of Texas.
Just three years ago, the discovery of bone fragments at a Fort Bend ISD construction site became national news. After extensive research and careful digging, it was an apparent gravesite for 95 individuals that died through the state’s convict leasing program. These individuals would later be known as the Sugar Land 95. Through the extensive efforts of Fort Bend ISD and local community members, the Sugar Land 95 now rests at the site of initial discovery.
For our final highlight of the month, we wanted to emphasize the importance of Mental Health and spotlight the work and impact of Bebe Moore Campbell. Bebe was a mother, author, journalist, teacher, and renowned mental health advocate. She worked tirelessly to bring awareness to mental health struggles that African Americans and other minorities face.
Once hoping to be “the Harriet Tubman of mental health” and help lead people to the promised land, she was diagnosed with and died from brain cancer in 2006. Since its establishment in 2008, we now honor her memory every July with The Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.
While the month of February may be over, the recognition of Black History should not be limited to only 28 days – it should be consistently embraced and celebrated.
Black History is American History. Black History is our history.