In recognition of Black History Month I would like to acknowledge the great history of this celebration. Black History Month was originally celebrated as Negro History Week and recognized during the second week of February. This week was chosen because both the birthdays of Fredrick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln, two very important figures who helped shape the history of African-Americans, fall during that week. Dr. Carter G. Woodson is credited with initiating the celebration of Negro History Week in 1926. It was celebrated until 1976 when it was expanded from a week to a month and became recognized as Black History Month.
Politically, Black History Month marks the month when the first black U.S. Senator, Hiram R. Revels, took his oath of office. Also, the 15th Amendment was passed on February 3, 1870 giving African-Americans the right to vote.
In 1973, I became a founding member of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. The driving purpose of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus is to address the issues that African-Americans face throughout the State of Texas. Myself, along with the other 16 current members of the Caucus, are dedicated to this purpose and it is in this spirit that we collectively recognize and celebrate this month.
African-Americans like Senator Revels, Dr. Woodson, Fredrick Douglas and many others struggled and fought against discrimination to make it possible for me to become an elected official and go on to become the longest serving African-American in the Texas Legislature. I am forever grateful for the sacrifice of those who came before me and I am proud to honor their legacy through the celebration of Black History Month.