Thursday, 28 May 2015

U.S. Racial Unrest Quizlet

Here's the Quizlet for the entries about Baltimore.

As always, there are many words you can use in other contexts.

You can also test yourself on the words as you learn them… words really are fun!

Baltimore Unrest I: Background of Racism in the U.S.

For almost a year, in too many places in the U.S., racial unrest has been boiling over like untended rice on a hot stove. Street violence has followed confrontations with police where black men--often more boys than men--have died. The reasons for this cycle are complex.
Racism exists everywhere during every epoch. But in the U.S., the racism related to African-Americans is complicated by the legacy of slavery. The slave trade helped build the economy of the nation; slavery itself was critical to the growth of the great cotton and tobacco plantations of the southern states. The U.S. Civil War was mostly, if not entirely, about whether the South could keep its slave-based economy.
       Michelle Obama recently reminded us of how discrimination has been justified: "There were the so-called scientific studies that said that black men's brains were smaller than white men's. Official Army reports stated that black soldiers were 'childlike,' 'shiftless,' 'unmoral and untruthful,' and as one quote stated, 'if fed, loyal and compliant.'"
These same "arguments" were used to justify slavery: it was okay because blacks were somehow less "human," or at least, less capable, than whites, so in return for their feeding and care, they could be put to work for whites, much like domestic animals. Another view was a Biblical justification: Noah's son Ham--identified as black--was a degenerate and thus his descendants were cursed with serving others forever.
Segregation in Practice
         The reconstruction of the South (that is, the southern states that formed the Confederacy and tried to win independence from the United States, which was called the Union) after the Civil War wasn't our country's finest moment. Speculation, corruption and manipulation by mostly northern profiteers was mostly uncontrolled. Often former slaves were used as "straw men" to hold office or to let the speculators take economic advantage of programs intended to help former slaves build new lives.
         The abuses of reconstruction led to instability, which in turn, led to fear. The first Ku Klux Klan was born in 1865 as an attempt to protect whites from the perceived black threat--and to restore white supremacy. It terrorized blacks. However, by 1872, between legal action against it and its own internal corruption, it was broken--although it would revive.
Nevertheless, the South managed to keep its black population segregated and disadvantaged for almost a century after the Civil War.
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s in the United States resulted in several laws that provided equal access for blacks (and other minorities) to education, housing, jobs, and most importantly, the vote. The laws were intended to "level the playing field" and prevent discrimination against minorities.
But attitudes on the street are hard to change. Especially if equal access means that there is more competition for limited jobs and housing, and minorities are given an edge to compensate for past discrimination.

Note: the words in bold type can be found in the Quizlet titled "U.S. Racial Unrest."

Baltimore Unrest II: The City

       According to the New York Times, "The tensions associated with segregation and concentrated poverty place many cities at risk of unrest. But the acute nature of segregation in Baltimore — and the tools that were developed to enforce it over such a long period of time — have left an indelible mark and given that city a singular place in the country’s racial history."
The State of Maryland allowed slavery. Baltimore, and Maryland's southern and eastern parts, depended on slavery for the state's profitable tobacco plantations.  The trade in slaves was also a source of wealth. Maryland didn't join the Confederacy of the southern states, but it might have. Feeling against the Union just before the American Civil War was so strong in Baltimore that Union troops occupied the city in May 1861. The whole state was then put under direct federal administration to keep it from leaving the Union.
At that time, Maryland had a large black slave population. It also had a large free black population, because of a liberal law on freeing slaves. A referendum on ending slavery entirely was put before the voters of Maryland in 1864 and by a narrow margin, the people voted to end slavery.
The free black population in Baltimore didn't leave the city. Despite the overall poverty of Baltimore's free blacks, compared with conditions for those living in Philadelphia, Charleston, and New Orleans, Baltimore was a "city of refuge." There were also institutions that provided a cushion against hardening white attitudes toward free blacks that followed the end of the Civil War.
But freedom didn't mean equality. In Baltimore, the city did all it could to segregate housing, helped by federal policies. From the 1930s to the 1960s, the Federal Housing Authority (FHA, an agency meant to encourage home ownership) openly supported racist covenants that largely excluded African-Americans — even the middle class and the wealthy — from the homeownership boom of this period. And it typically denied mortgages to black residents wherever they lived.
Slums in Baltimore
(photo Timothy W. Maier,
Baltimore Post Examiner)
In Baltimore (as well as in other cities), this meant that black home buyers resorted to the "contract system." Property sellers set up ruinously priced installment plans and financial "booby traps" for the express purpose of repossessing the home. If the buyer missed even one payment, the seller got the house back and could sell it again. To meet the outrageous costs of these schemes, borrowers sometimes subdivided apartments and skimped on repairs. Properties decayed. Black families ended up trapped in deteriorating neighborhoods
Racism is, in the end, about profit. A small child who sees a person with different colored skin for the first time is curious, not repelled. Both whites and blacks (as well as other minorities), especially those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder, are manipulated by political and economic interests into fearing and distrusting each other. This is made easier when educational failures leave people largely unable to question "received truths." As long as there is fear and distrust between the different communities, the divisions can be used to avoid public cooperation in demanding such things as responsible, unbiased policing.
After the riots
(photo by
Bishop M. Crowmartie)
The young man who was killed in Baltimore was fairly typical for his time and place. Freddie Gray was exposed to lead paint as a child and suspected of participation in the drug trade. These factors, added to the relative confinement of black unrest to black communities during the riots, are all features of a city and a country that still segregate people along racial lines. Segregation permits the financial enrichment of landlords, real estate speculators, corner store merchants and other vendors selling second-rate goods. And while blacks in Baltimore have a voice in the government, it can't offset the structural problems of a segregated community.
At the same time, it's worth pointing out that the riots lasted only one night. After that, a curfew and state of emergency were imposed. Many  in the community were and are opposed to violence. They supported the city's actions to calm things down. (For a time line of events from 27 April to 1 May, see
        While unrest has continued, there is recognition that violence only gives an excuse for a violent response. It continues the cycle and solves nothing in the end. In fact, the authorities in Baltimore have taken action to investigate and fix responsibility on those who were involved in Freddy Gray's death. Perhaps Baltimore, where segregation has been so pervasive and persistent, will end up being a model for how to finally root it out.

Note: the words in bold type can be found in the Quizlet titled "U.S. Racial Unrest"), if you wish. 

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Rails Across the Nation: Transcontinental Railroad Quizlet

The vocabulary underlined in "The Building of a Transcontinental Railroad" can be found in this quizlet:

There are other contexts where you can use many of these words. Play with them!

The Building of a Transcontinental Railroad

[The underlined words are defined in the quizlet titled "Rails Across the Nation."]
        May 10 marks the 146th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad in the U.S. On that date in 1869, a silver mallet pounded in the last spike for the track laid from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Sacramento, California, connecting the eastern U.S. to the west.
The rail line's tale reflects the conflicts and drama of its time.
The three possible railroad routes
After the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), Mexico surrendered its claims to territory from today's Mexican border as far north as Colorado, including today's U.S. Southwest and much of California and Texas. Even before the war, there was talk of extending the railroad west; now it could go coast to coast.
Three possible routes were considered. The northern route, across the northern plains not far from Canada, was dismissed due to difficult terrain and fierce winters.
         The southern route had the advantage of avoiding the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but much of this route was in the South and tensions between the industrial northern states and the agricultural southern stats were high.
          The central route had to cross the mountains, but by following the Platte River and using a pass in Wyoming, it could avoid the worst of them.
  Political differences between northern and southern states prevented a decision until 1861, when most of the southern states left the federal Union. Once  the North controlled Congress, it approved the central route. The rail would begin at Council Bluffs, Iowa and eventually end at San Francisco, CA. Congress authorized two companies, the Central Pacific Railroad Company and the Union Pacific Railroad Company, to build and operate the service.
  Huge fortunes were made in the building of the railroad. During the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865), there was little oversight of the work, despite significant federal investment in lands and tariff revenues for the construction.  For example, the major shareholder of the Union Pacific, Dr. Thomas Durant, made sure the early building crossed land that he owned around Omaha, NE. The sub-contractor for construction (also controlled by Durant) was paid by the mile, so several oxbows of unnecessary track were built during the railroad's first 2½ years that  never went further than 40 miles (64 km) from Omaha.
  Nevertheless, eventually (after 1865) the Union Pacific turned west. The Central Pacific, meanwhile, had hired hundreds of Chinese laborers to build its track, which had the lion's share of the difficult CA and NV terrain. The job required 15 tunnels to be carved through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, work that sometimes advanced at a daily average rate of only 1.8 feet (0.55 meter).
  The Union Pacific had legitimate construction delays once it got underway, but not caused by terrain--the route ran mostly across the immense grasslands of the American prairie, through what are now WY and NE. Building was fairly easy. But vast herds of American bison migrated across this route. The herds were not only an obstruction for the trains; the plains Indians depended on them for food, shelter and clothing.
          The railroad slaughtered them by the hundreds, almost to the point of extinction. Native Americans attacked the construction sites, trying to prevent what they considered a violation of treaty rights and also stop the destruction of their way of life. To no avail. The end of the bison meant the end of Native American plains culture; the tribes were broken. Within thirty years, Native Americans were largely confined to reservations.
  While the Central Pacific kept on building rail to connect Sacramento to San Francisco, the Union Pacific was bankrupt three years after the last spike was driven. Its capital was looted by graft and financial manipulation. It rose again from its ruins, with Jay Gould at the help--but that's another story.
Although there's no denying the destruction of cultures and the many ethical problems involved in building the transcontinental railroad, it was a triumph of construction for its day. It also opened a new era for the nation, an era of true national communication.
          Ironically, despite all the sweat and blood spent, the heyday of the rails lasted only until the automobile appeared on the scene, a brief 50 years, more or less. Highway Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles was born in 1926, and signaled the death knell for widespread long distance rail use in the United States. In 2013, even with increasing ridership, only 4.8 million passengers (of a total population of 316.5 million) rode the long distance routes.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Boston Strong: Vocabulary… and a Grammar Conundrum

Some of the words in the article on the Boston Marathon and Patriots' Day are defined in a Quizlet. You can find it at the following link:

You can see whether a story on the Patriots'/Patriot's Day commemoration comes from Maine or  Massachusetts  by observing the apostrophe: if the text says Patriots', then it will be talking about Massachusetts; if it says Patriot's, then it will be talking about Maine.

Minuteman monument,
Lexington MA
This is because the punctuation defines the day in Massachusetts as  belonging to or pertaining to many patriots (patriots'). Maine, for some reason, uses punctuation that defines it as a day of, or pertaining to, one patriot (patriot's)… presumably "The Patriot" as a concept rather than an actual person.

(Wisconsin, which observes Patriots' Day--Massachusetts' punctuation--as a school observance day, defines patriots as follows: "“Patriots were colonists who wanted independence from British rule. Most hoped to find peaceful ways to settle their differences with England. When the British decided to look for Samuel Adams and John Hancock [two leaders of the revolutionary movement], who were hiding in Concord, Paul Revere and Billy Dawes rode through the night warning other Patriots in New England. The American Revolution began when the first shots were fired at Lexington on April 19, 1775. Each side said the other fired first. Patriots’ Day was established to mark the beginning of the Revolutionary War.”)

In 2014, according to, Sen. Chris Johnson, D-Somerville,  introduced a bill to change the punctuation from a singular possessive to a plural possessive, because a constituent asked him to. Sen. Johnson thought "the Legislature should make the change to honor all the patriots of [the Lexington and Concord] battles and to model proper punctuation for students." The legislation wasn't successful.

A University of Maine at Augusta English professor, Lisa Botshon, thinks there's a third possibility, which is better than either of the possessives: just get rid of the apostrophe altogether. Without punctuation, it becomes a day about patriots rather than belonging to them (or one of them). This is called the plural attributive, and the Associated Press style book requires its use for Presidents Day, a federal holiday, now that several presidents instead of only one, are honored on that day.

All of which just goes to show that there's room for argument about use of American English even by native speakers in the U.S.

Boston Strong: Patriots' Day and the Boston Marathon

Patriot's Day is inextricably linked to the Boston Marathon.
The first marathon, 39.4 kilometers, was run in 1897. The race was inspired by the marathon run in the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens. In honor of the shared struggle of Athens and the United States for liberty, the race was scheduled for Patriots' Day, a holiday established only in 1894.
What is Patriot's Day? The holiday commemorates the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775. Those clashes between British troops and colonial militiamen touched off the American Revolution.  It isn't a national holiday. Only Massachusetts and Maine (which was a part of Massachusetts until 1820) celebrate it as a full official holiday.
In 1969, the commemoration was changed to the third Monday in April to allow for a 3-day weekend. The race made the change, too. It's the oldest annual marathon in the world and has been run continuously since 1897.
Originally, it was a local event. Anyone who wanted to run, did, free of charge, and the winner was given a wreath of olive branches to wear. But in the 1980s, professional runners encouraged corporate sponsors to put up prize money for the race. In 1986, the first cash prize was given. Women weren't officially allowed to run in the Boston Marathon until 1972. The race has historically allowed "bandits," people who run the race without paying the entry fee. They can't start running until the official entrants have left, but they have been allowed to cross the finish line. Because of the bombings in 2013, bandits are now discouraged.
The bombings gave the race a new dimension.
In 2013, a little before 3:00 p.m., nearly 3 hours after the winners had completed the race, two bombs exploded about 180 meters before the finish line. Three people were killed; some 260 people were injured. The race was halted, and Boston mobilized. Both runners and spectators, rather than running away from the explosion site, converged on it to help the victims.
Runners and spectators help victims
of Boston Marathon bombing 2013
For the next four days, Boston and its suburbs cooperated with authorities in the effort to capture the bombers. When one, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was tracked to Watertown, residents stayed in their homes at the request of police for several long hours while a dragnet was spread to capture the suspect.
  Tsarnaev's trial recently ended with a conviction on all counts he was charged with. His defense stated that the ethnic Chechen acted in retribution for U.S. military campaigns in Muslim-dominated countries, convinced to do so by his older brother. (The brother was killed in a shoot-out during the pursuit of the suspects.)
Meb Keflezighi crosses the finish
at the 2014 Boston Marathon
The 2014 Boston Marathon had tightened security, but more spectators than ever crowded the streets to see the runners fly past. For the first time since 1983, the winner was a U.S. runner,  Meb Keflezighi, of San Diego, Calif.
This year, both organizers and runners see the race as a return to a new normalcy. The Associated Press reported that while security will be tight "officials have avoided more drastic measures, like creating a buffer zone between fans and the runners, or closing off certain areas of the course to spectators entirely."
           Thirty thousand runners will start the race on April 20, and a million spectators will cheer them on. Bill Rogers, who has won the race 4 times, summarized how people are looking at this year's race: "The healing is occurring; that's what everyone wants. They want it to be a wonderful celebration, just like it has always been. And I think that's what's happening."
Boston Strong: City skyline and Longfellow
Bridge on the Charles River

Monday, 16 March 2015

Saint Patrick's Day: Everyone's Irish!

        March 17 is St. Patrick's Day.
Saint Patrick's life is, like the lives of many early saints, a heady mixture of fact and fiction. What makes him stand out, however, is that the Irish Church adopted him as Ireland's patron saint in the 7th Century. Since at least 1737, when the Charitable Irish Society of Boston (Massachusetts) sponsored a celebration for St. Patrick's Day, he has been celebrated as the personification of Irishness. Today parades and festivals honor him throughout the world.
What we do know about St. Patrick may surprise you.
He wasn't Irish, for one thing. He was born in the late 4th Century to a wealthy Roman British family in England--where, exactly, is disputed, although it is agreed the place was near the coast. When he was 15, he committed some undisclosed sin that was to haunt him all his life.
Irish hills and fields
        Irish raiders introduced him to Ireland.  At 16, Patrick was captured in a coastal raid and taken to Ireland. He was then sold as a slave and for six years, herded sheep among the green hills of Ireland.  He relates how he escaped back to England with the help of God, and studied to become a priest. The Ireland he had escaped was largely a pagan land, a patchwork of small states ruled by chieftains. Although Christianity had made inroads there, it was not yet widespread.
Patrick proposed to change that.  He used his knowledge of the culture to connect with the Irish, and made many converts.
        He did not, however, chase the snakes from Ireland. There were never any  snakes there to be driven out. Nor has he ever been formally canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church, though he is recognized as a saint.
Putting on the Green!
        The celebration of St. Patrick's day that is now a worldwide phenomenon was originally a quiet religious observance in Ireland. Beginning with the 1737 Boston celebration, and continuing with the first St. Paddy's Day parade in New York City in 1762, it was Irish immigrants to the U.S. who turned St. Patrick's Day into an international celebration. The festivities came home to Dublin only in 1995!
         In the U.S., the day means "putting on the green," that is, wearing green in honor of Ireland and turning rivers (and rivers of beer) green with coloring. The best places to be are Boston, New York, or Chicago, but almost any U.S. city with a significant Irish population (which is most of them) will have some sort of Irish party.
On March 17, everyone is Irish. So  join the traditional toast to the Emerald Isle with a glass of Irish whiskey or a Guinness! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

World Water Day, March 22, 2015: Water and Sustainable Development

        Think for a minute about water.
Open your kitchen tap and out it comes, letting you cook or wash. After a hot day at work or school, your shower feels so good! Throughout your day, water carries away your waste without you thinking much about it.
But water does a whole lot more.
Water makes energy. According to the U.N., over 80% of power generation comes from thermal electricity: water turned into steam that drives generators. Another 16% of energy comes from hydroelectric dams.
Water grows our food. In many parts of the world, we need to irrigate with water to grow crops, and livestock needs water to drink.
Water helps make products, lots of water. Ten liters of water are needed to make one sheet of paper! This means manufacturing jobs depend on water supply.
The kids in First Year of ESO have been learning about the water cycle. Every molecule of H2O is recycled and reused over and over again. Imagine: You are outside the Instituto and a raindrop falls on your face. Then it falls on the ground. It runs off along the pavement before being caught in a drain. The drain takes it to the Tinto, which takes it to the Atlantic.
The water cycle at work over Gran
Canaria: evaporation of blue,
sunlit water; condensation as
cloud; precipitation as rain
squalls falling on the land.
Under a hot sun, the water molecule in the Atlantic heats and evaporates, and turns into water vapor. Then it rises into the sky. When it hits cooler air, it condenses and becomes part of fog or a cloud. This same cycle is repeated with various players (you drink water, you urinate or sweat, the water goes into the drainage system, and so on... or a tree takes ground water into its roots, then its leaves transpire water which turns to water vapor and rises, and so on...), with our little H2O molecule transforming over and over again.
BUT. Although the water cycle tries very hard to keep clean water moving so it can do all the thousands of jobs it has to do, people often get in the way. Mines and industry pollute ground water and rivers; this can lead to poisoning fish, shellfish, and people. Over-heated water discharged into water bodies can harm both plants and animals that depend on that water body.
Overuse of water means that the water cycle is distorted: some places get far too much water; other places get none at all. Both situations can lead to economic hardship, disease, and conflict.
We have to conserve our water and protect its quality. That's what "sustainable" means. There's enough water for everyone--if we use it properly. That means keeping it clean and using it wisely, without wasting it.
So let's celebrate water and its sustainable use on March 22! You can learn more at:

Monday, 16 February 2015

Instruments of Peace

        President Barak Obama may not have had World Day of Peace in mind when he spoke on February 5. Regardless, his speech was a blueprint for how to approach the goal of peace-making. The occasion was the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast, an annual tradition since 1953.

The president asked an important question in his speech: "[H]ow do we, as people of faith, reconcile these realities -- the profound good, the strength, the tenacity, the compassion and love that can flow from all of our faiths, operating alongside those who seek to hijack religion for their own murderous ends?"

Later, he said " [P]erhaps our greatest challenge [is] to see our own reflection in each other; to be our brother’s keepers and sister’s keepers, and to keep faith with one another. "

President Obama, one of the most powerful leaders in the world, spoke candidly of doubt and humility. He talked about the need for freedom of all peoples: not political freedom alone, but also freedom from want. He spoke of the underlying law, acknowledged by all religions and by those who have no religion but do have a sense of ethics and morality, "that Golden Rule that we should treat one another as we wish to be treated."

           Peace is threatened on so many fronts: in the Ukraine, in the Middle East, in parts of Asia, in parts of Africa. Even in places where  there are no open political conflicts, there are violent circumstances that challenge stability and well-being: Mexico, Venezuela, the Philippines, Russia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, to name just a few. President Obama challenged each of us to do something about that. He said to the diverse, international audience, "Whatever our beliefs, whatever our traditions, we must seek to be instruments of peace...."

Words are power. Words that are used correctly can achieve amazing things. The president's speech included many words that can contribute to peace. I've prepared a vocabulary of these words, and added a few more that may be useful. This vocabulary is titled "The Search for Peace," and you can find it at:

If you'd like to hear the president's speech, you can find it at:
If you'd like to read it, the text is at:

President's Day in the United States

For many people in the U.S., Monday, February 16, 2015 is a holiday. (Since Valentine's Day falls on Saturday this year,  people who like romantic getaways can enjoy a long weekend celebration.) It is the observance of George Washington's Birthday, which has come to be known as "Presidents' Day."

George Washington was the first U.S. president. He was unanimously elected to the office in 1788 and again in 1792. Each state that was a member of the union (in other words, each state that had adopted the then new U.S. Constitution) selected electors to the Electoral College. This body had the duty of choosing the president by vote of its members.

At that time, electors were chosen by popular vote only in some of the states. Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania left the choice entirely up to the voters. New Hampshire had a mixed system.  The other five of the ten states which had adopted the U.S. Constitution chose electors by a vote of the state legislatures. Even states that selected electors by popular vote limited that vote to white males who owned property.

George Washington was the unanimous choice because most of the people in positions of power trusted him. The common people trusted him, too. He had been the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War, and he had presided at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 that wrote the U.S. Constitution. He distrusted organized political parties and warned against their dangers when he retired, voluntarily, after his second term of office.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

What's Black History Month About?

         February was designated Black History Month by President Gerald Ford in 1976, to coincide with the bicentennial (200th birthday) of the United States. February is particularly suitable for this observance because the birthdays of  both President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass fall in February. It was Lincoln who signed the Emancipation Proclamation (1863) which effectively ended slavery in the United States. Douglass, a contemporary of Lincoln,  was a former slave who won his freedom through escape to the north in 1838. He became an important activist for the cause of human rights, supporting both abolition of slavery and equal rights for women.

There was a backlash against black citizens ("freedmen") after the U.S. Civil War.  Little by little, new means of keeping African Americans in the position of second class citizens were created. Segregation was enforced by both law and custom: blacks and whites could not use the same rest rooms, wait for public transportation in the same waiting rooms, or drink from the same water fountains. Black and white kids couldn't go to the same schools.

        This system began to break down in the 1950s. In 1951, a little girl named Linda Brown tried to enroll in an elementary school near her home in Kansas. Linda was in the third grade. The black school she was supposed to go to involved a 6 block walk, followed by another mile on a bus, while the white school was just 7 blocks away. She was denied, and her parents, with other parents, filed suit. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that separate schools were inherently unequal, and that Linda and all others in her circumstances were entitled to relief and equal protection of the laws.  This was the beginning of school integration in the United States.

A single white passenger on a
Montgomery bus during the boycott
           The next big event in the Civil Rights Movement was the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956. It arose from the refusal of Mrs. Rosa Parks, a seamstress, to give up her bus seat to a white man in early December 1955. City ordinance in Montgomery, Alabama required that blacks had to sit in the back of the bus, and if all white seats were full, blacks had to offer their seats to whites.

             Martin Luther King Jr. had become the pastor of a Montgomery Baptist Church in the fall of 1954. Now he was selected to head up organizing a bus boycott to protest unequal treatment of blacks and whites on the buses. Dr. King firmly believed in non-violence, and the patient, determined boycott of the bus service  helped end bus desegregation in December 1956.  There was resistance: between December 21, 1955 and January 10, 1957, there were attacks on black riders and four churches and two homes were bombed. But in the end, Montgomery accepted the inevitable.
Frederick Douglass, ex-slave,
writer, and activist in 1800s

               By 1976, the Civil Rights Movement had achieved a great deal. It had ended segregation and discrimination in voter registration with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After mass demonstrations and strong southern resistance, voting rights for blacks were strengthened with the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

           The contributions African Americans have made to U.S. history and culture were no longer ignored.  February was set aside as a time to remember the historical, scientific, literary and political legacy that black Americans have given to the country.  From Frederick Douglass to Muhammad Ali (Olympic gold medalist in boxing in 1960, heavyweight world champion boxer in 1964, 1974-1977, and political activist), from George Washington Carver (1864- 1943; agricultural researcher) to Thurgood Marshall (1908 - 1993; first black U.S. Supreme Court Justice), from Louis Armstrong (1901-1971; jazz innovator) to Alvin Alley  (1931- 1989; dancer and choreographer), and from Crispus Attucks (1723-1770; freedman killed leading sailors and dockworkers to protest British troops in Boston) to Alice Walker (1944 - present; novelist who won the Pulitzer Prize for literature in 1983 and poet)--African Americans in all fields are celebrated during February for what they have given to United States culture and history.

              It is worth noting that the U.S.  appreciation of black history motivated Canada to also observe a Black History Month in February. The United Kingdom, too, declared a Black History Month, but celebrates it in October as an educational tool to inspire children of color who are beginning the school term.