January 29, 2021
Hello Bridgeport Public School Community,
To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week (then called “Negro History Week”) nearly a century ago. The event was first celebrated during the second week of February 1926, because it coincided with the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and abolitionist/writer Frederick Douglass (February 14). That week would continue to be set aside for the event until 1976 when, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, it was expanded to a month. Since then, U.S. presidents have proclaimed February as National African American History Month.
Black History Month honors the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. Among prominent figures are Madam C.J. Walker, who was the first U.S. woman to become a self-made millionaire; George Washington Carver, who derived nearly 300 products from the peanut; Rosa Parks, who sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and galvanized the civil rights movement; and Shirley Chisholm, who was the first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
We must draw inspiration and guidance from the past and through that inspiration find tools and pathways that will help our students strive for success. We cannot help but to be inspired by Martin Luther King’s oratory, commitment to racial justice, and his ultimate sacrifice. King's work and impassionate call for racial equality for African Americans has inspired generations. As our nation continues to struggle with some of the very same issues Dr. King faced; his legacy is a reminder to all of us that many of the positive changes that have happened in this country came about because people were willing to fight for them. Let's be reminded that when we come together and speak with one voice, we can make a big difference.
Michael J. Testani
Superintendent of Schools