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posted: 2/28/2014 5:01 AM

Honor African-Americans for their contributions

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Black History Month was initially created by Carter G. Woodson in 1926 to recognize the significant contributions of blacks who were not traditionally acknowledged in American history or classroom teachings. During February, many institutions and organizations choose to honor blacks and the accomplishments they have made in various political, educational, literary and athletic arenas.

As an African-American, I am proud to join the celebration. I celebrate black leaders and politicians in history who fought for my freedom and civil rights, such as Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. I acknowledge present-day blacks who continue to inspire me, such as President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

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I honor the contributions of influential athletes who created opportunities, such as Jackie Robinson and Arthur Ashe. During this month, I also show tremendous gratitude to blacks who directly supported, guided and educated me on my personal journey, including my mother, my husband, my teachers and my mentors.

Although I am personally grateful for this celebration, it is important to acknowledge the contributions of blacks on a daily basis. We can acknowledge the contributions of black inventors and leaders whenever we eat potato chips, whenever we stop at a traffic light, and whenever we visit Chicago. No matter our race, religion or political background, blacks have made significant contributions to our lives.

As a faculty member at Elgin Community College, I truly appreciate ECC's continuous commitment to honor and educate others about the contributions of blacks during Black History Month through discussions, presentations, entertainment and culinary cuisine. I encourage you to recognize the contributions of historical and present-day blacks on a daily basis.

Sharon D. Baker, Psy.D.

Associate professor of psychology

Elgin Community College

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