For the past 90 years, February has been the month to remember the rich and diverse history of African Americans. Throughout history, our country has been exposed to racism and oppression, and the work of individuals such as Frederick Douglass and Rosa Parks helped give a voice to those who could not speak out.
The achievements of African Americans touch every community and are found in every field of study, including science and technology. So, during this Black History Month, it is important to remember the bravery and hard work of those individuals who helped build a better and more tolerant future for all of us.
The appointments of Justice Peggy Ann Quince, the first African-American woman appointed to the Florida Supreme Court, and the late Leander Shaw Jr., the first African American to become chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court, helped pave the way for countless black lawyers who might not have had the chance to practice law and reach all levels of the state’s judiciary.
The recent establishment of the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame allows Floridians to celebrate and honor individuals who helped foster equality for all in our state. African-American heroes such as pioneering educator Mary McLeod Bethune and civil rights leader C.K. Steele are recent inductees who were recognized for their unyielding commitment to equality, diversity and human dignity.
This April, Floridians will once again have an opportunity to induct three new civil rights figures into the Hall of Fame. Among them is sure to be an African- American; perhaps another educator, a lawmaker, an athlete. Whoever the inductees are, they will continue to inspire future Floridians.
Today’s African Americans have much to celebrate as they honor those who have gone before them.
Derick Daniel, commissioner, Florida Commission on Human Relations,