Black History Month: a time to reflect and celebrate

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Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans-a time for recognizing the central role of African-Americans in U.S. history.

The story of Black History Month dates back more than 90-years.

“It was started in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson,” Patrick Jackson, president of the Bakersfield NAACP chapter said. “It started off as Black History Week, later on became Black History Month. A time to reflect, celebrate and understand the struggles we’ve overcame and the accomplishments that we’ve had.”

In 1976 president Gerald Ford was the first president to dedicate a month to celebrating the history and successes of African-Americans.   

Lori Wear, curator of collections at the Kern County Museum, has spent the past month digging into the history of African-Americans in Kern County.

“A lot of African-Americans came to this area early on,” Wear said. “They were everything from cowboys to farmers to shopkeepers.”

The museum hosts a lot of information on one family in particular, including their house.

“The Pinkney family,” Wear said. “They came out here in the 1880s to pick cotton and then they lived here at least until the 60s when they moved up to Berkley and went to school up there.”

Throughout the month, events take place to commemorate everything from history to music.

“Being able to participate for our children’s sake and to be able to see the people come together and learn the history,” Jackson said. “Because if we don’t know your history, you really don’t know much of yourself. So the more you know of your history and what your people have gone through, the more appreciation you have and the more pride you have.” 

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