Honoring Black History

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated February as ‘Black History Month. President Ford, who first officially recognized Black History Month, encouraged the American public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” ’ During this month, as Americans honor the notable inventions, artistic and literary contributions, social change, and human achievements contributed by black Americans, U.S. Embassy Muscat will feature a few of the many inspiring and influential black Americans who have made substantial contributions to America and the world.

Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize- and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist. Among her best known works are “The Bluest Eye,” “Song of Soloman” and “Beloved.”

Famed 19th-century author and speaker Frederick Douglass was an eminent human rights leader in the anti-slavery movement and an early women’s rights supporter. A man who had escaped slavery, he was the first African-American to serve as an ambassador and consul-general.

In 2002-03, Serena Williams achieved the “Serena Slam” by holding all four grand slam titles at once: the 2002 French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles, and the 2003 Australian Open.  She holds the world’s record for winning 23 Grand Slam titles and several Olympic gold medals. She credits her sister, tennis player Venus Williams, with her success.

Dr. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to go to space, embarking on an eight-day mission aboard the space shuttle Endeavor in 1992. She, along with U.S. and Japanese scientists, conducted research and experimented with bone cells.

Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United states, was the first African American to serve in the office. Elected to the presidency in 2008, he won a second term in 2012. While a student,  he was the elected editor of the Harvard Law Review. He went on to work as a civil rights lawyer and teach constitutional law before winning a Senate seat in 2004, only the third black man to be elected to the U.S. Senate.

When Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white man and move to the back of the bus, she became an icon of the African American civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American preacher and activist who demanded social change through non-violent methods.