February 2024 Publishers Desk

By James Thomas

February marks the beginning of Black History Month!

I always enjoy this month as we focus on the wonderful accomplishments that African Americans have made to our society. It senseless to think one month can cover all the incredible contributions of African Americans, but I will certainly take it over nothing at all. The origins of Black History Month can be traced all the way back to the Jim Crow Era and was officially recognized in 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebrations. Prior to Black History Month, there was Negro History Week that was established by scholar Carter G. Woodson in 1926. He fervently believed the nation should recognize the achievements that Black Americans have made. Mr. Woodson, whose parents were once slaves said, “If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” Woodson chose February to celebrate Black History Month in correlation with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas.  Although Douglas, once being a slave, did not know his actual birth date, he chose to celebrate it on February  14th. In the South, they tried to suppress Black or African American history, which is still an active pursuit today in some states. The idea that slavery was in some way “beneficial” to the slave is beyond ridiculous and insulting. No matter how much individuals want to “whitewash” slavery, it was the most evil and vile institutions.  It is astonishing how history will try and repeat itself if you’re not careful. This is why the preservation of Black History Month and Black history studies are so vitally important.

As we celebrate Black History Month, The United Negro College Fund celebrates 80 years of its existence this year! The United Negro College Fund or more commonly known as the UNCF was founded in 1944 by the President of what was then Tuskegee University, Dr. Frederick Patterson, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune and others. The principal reason for this fund was to raise scholarship money for Black children to attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities. They believed upward mobility for Blacks was through education and UNCF carries forth this tradition to this present day. The UNCF is headed now by Dr. Michael L. Lomax and is the nation’s largest private scholarship provider to students of color. On February 17th, the annual UNCF Mayors’ Masked Ball will descend upon the Hyatt Regency hotel for its annual fundraiser. If you can’t attend, please consider donating to UNCF.org/Dallas. Their famous motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste”, rings true today just as it did then.

Last month we lost Dexter King, the youngest son of Dr. Martin Luther King, to prostate cancer. As we give our sincere condolences to the King family, this is also a reminder to men to go and get your prostate checked. While we don’t know the circumstances surrounding Dexter King’s health, we do know that prostate cancer can be successfully treated if found early. So, men, please go and get your prostate examined. It can save your life.

Until next month, may God bless you is my prayer.

The Publisher
James Valentino Thomas II

Our goal at Southern Dallas County Business & Living Magazine is to bring you the latest information on issues relating to Southern Dallas County. We will have monthly feature stories on CEOs and business owners, marketing tips, dining, finance, commercial and residential real esate, investing, social issues and other interesting, thought-provoking and useful information.

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