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Commentary

Remembering Selma, Honoring Black History Year-Round

Kimberly Barrett is Wright State University’s Vice President For Multicultural Affairs and Community Engagement.
Lewis Wallace
/
WYSO

Black History Month has always created a bit of a quandary for me. I hope that one day stories of the contributions of Americans of African descent are so woven into the intergenerational narrative we share in the United States that there will be no need for it. However, this year the celebration of Black History Month is especially momentous. It coincides with the 50thanniversary of events leading to a pivotal moment in the evolution of our nation’s democracy, the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Of particular note is the march that started in Selma, Alabama, on March 7, 1965 now known as Bloody Sunday. The march, which was televised, ended abruptly when police, state troopers and other white by-standers brutally attacked peaceful, black protesters.  Witnessing this inhumanity, citizens in the U.S. and around the world, from all ethnic backgrounds, were moved to action. More protests followed, and within months the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, putting new protections in place for black voters. I hope you will take advantage of the many opportunities this month in our community to learn the lessons this moment in history has for all of us. Remember the quote by George Santayana, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Some of Wright State's Black History Month events are listed here: https://www.wright.edu/bolinga-black-cultural-resources-center
Dr. Kimberly Barrett is Wright State University’s Vice President For Multicultural Affairs and Community Engagement.