February is Black History Month/ National African American History month, as established in 1976 by U.S. President Gerald Ford to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” He urged his fellow citizens to join him ‘in tribute to Black History Month and the message of courage and perseverance it brings to all of us.”
Although the notable achievements of Black Americans are too bountiful, and sadly often undocumented, to enumerate in one month, this celebration provides a snapshot of remarkable leadership of our region, and our country. Black women have made significant contributions to our Ys, our communities, and our country. This year, the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington is celebrating Black women and their achievements over the years, including the historic swearing-in of our country’s first Black Vice-President.
The women featured on this page have made history. Perhaps even more importantly, their legacy continues to inspire future generations. Each week, throughout the course of this month, this page will be updated to feature leaders from our past and those we look forward to leading in our future.
The first day of Black History Month in 2021 will provide a starting point to reflect on two significant developments in our Y’s nearly 169-year history and legacy relative to the African American experience in our movement.