HARRISBURG, January 25 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus have sponsored a resolution recognizing February 2023 as Black History Month in the Commonwealth, according to Rep. Donna Bullock, chair of the PLBC.
This year’s Black History Month theme is “Black Resistance,” which recognizes that black Americans have resisted historical and ongoing oppression in all forms, particularly racial terrorism through lynchings, racial pogroms, and police killings.
“From slave rebellions to the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter, black Americans have consistently fought for freedom, democracy and the soul of this country,” said Bullock, D-Phila., who is a major sponsor of the effort. “This struggle has meant resisting white supremacy, resisting police and racial violence, and resisting repressive legislation and policies. During our 50thth On this anniversary, the PLBC will continue our work to advance anti-racist and restorative laws and equitable government investments that will improve the lives of black Pennsylvanians.”
Other major sponsors of the bill are state officials. Napoleon Nelson, D-Montgomery; Darisha Parker, D-Phila., and Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster.
“The resistance is part of who we are in this country every day,” said Parker, who serves as PLBC secretary. “Until we know there is justice, equality and justice in public and private politics, in institutions and in the eyes of all Americans, we will not give up the power we know resistance can bring. Until every single Pennsylvanian has an equal opportunity for education, health, wealth and justice, we must remain vigilant. The PLBC promotes and moves these agenda items in every corner of state government.”
Black History Month began as Negro History Week in the United States, founded by historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson envisioned the week commemorating the countless people from the black community who had contributed to the advancement of human civilization.
This vision later developed in 1969 when Kent State University students and educators promoted the idea of Black History Month (instead of a week), followed by its first on-campus celebration in 1970. President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month officially in 1976, calling on the public to seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected and overlooked achievements of black Americans throughout history.
This year is the 50thth anniversary of the PLBC. After meeting in secret for several years, the PLBC was formally organized during the 1973-74 legislature by then House Majority Leader K. Leroy Irvis. The founding members saw the need for the caucus because they believed that legislators representing minority counties needed to speak with one voice about the problems and concerns of their constituents. Today, the PLBC has more than 30 members representing urban, suburban and rural counties across the Commonwealth.
Information provided to TVL by:
Communications Office of the House of Democrats