It is once again Black History Month and as a union of professionals in service to the public, this should be a celebration for all Marylanders. Many of us appreciate the historic contributions made to our state and country by Black people as those contributions have only served to enhance our nation and make the United States more just. As Americans, our country’s history is not something that should be ignored or diminished. We must tell honest truths, difficult as they may be, if we are indeed to create a more perfect union.
Thankfully the labor movement has been and continues to be a place where Black people have been celebrated in community with others. AFT-Maryland has had the distinction of having Black women leaders throughout our organization’s history. Additionally, in the persons of Michael Steele, Anthony Brown, and Boyd Rutherford, Maryland elected three consecutive Black Lieutenant Governors. Later our state welcomed the first Black woman Speaker of the House of Delegates in Adrienne Jones. Famously, in 2022 our state elected Anthony Brown to be the first Black Attorney General and Wes Moore made history as the first Black Governor in the state of Maryland.
This bit of Maryland history is something that everyone should take pride in. We welcome the month of February and the opportunity to continue to learn and celebrate so much of the rich cultural history of Black people. The educator in me reminds us all that an opportunity to learn should never be forsaken, no matter our age or station in life. We are wiser, stronger, and more understanding of each other, the more we know about one another. Let us take this opportunity to remember and celebrate the famous names such as Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells, and Stokely Carmichael, while also appreciating the rich history of Black labor trailblazers such as A. Philip Randolph, Bill Lucy, and our own Lorretta Johnson.
Happy Black History Month.