Our topic for this meeting is Black History Month. Each year, February is dedicated to increasing understanding and awareness of the rich history of Black Americans. Black History Month is an opportunity to learn about and pay tribute to the countless contributions by African-Americans to building and shaping our nation.


PRESIDING TODAY IS: Lisa Gum, Club Secretary

bellDing! We’re now in session.

Welcome all – visitors, fellow Rotarians and guests alike to this E-Club program!


Remember the Four-Way Test!

At the beginning of each meeting we remind ourselves of The Four-Way Test.  Therefore, please remember to ask yourself always ...


Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


Reflective Moments

“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything.”
          – Harriet Tubman [on her first escape from slavery, 1845]
“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed.”
          – Booker T. Washington

Leadership Quotes

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
          – Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.”
          – Jesse Owens
Poem by Langston Hughes (1994)
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.









Celebrating Black History Month

The question has come up: “why do we need black history month?” The arguments have been that we already study history, and black history should be interwoven into history as a whole; that Black History is American History. Others question why we only study black history for one month, rather than all year long. The answer is that history always provides insight and lessons into what communities are like today. For at least a month, African-American children and adults are immersed in a landscape that explores a past that is marked by struggle and suffering, while regarding with honor how African Americans have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles since the inception of America.
(Marcus Kwame artist, print available on Etsy)
According to the author and political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson, “Black History Month was established nearly a century ago by historian Carter G. Woodson for the simple reason that African-Americans were systematically whitewashed out of American history – that is, the integral role they played in every aspect of American life and development.” Devoting February to Black History is as important as requiring college courses in the American Revolution or the Civil War for the history major. The month of February was chosen because both Abraham Lincoln and Fredderick Douglas were born that month.
The reality is that many amazing contributions by black people in America have gone unnoticed. Most people had not heard of Katherine Johnson’s crucial role in putting the first man on the moon before seeing the recent movie Hidden Figures. During black history month, people of all races can celebrate and learn more about prominent figures in sports, music, literature, art, movies, education, medicine, health care, science, law, politics, civil rights, and more!
“When it comes to pioneers in African American history, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and Muhammad Ali are often mentioned—and rightfully so. But what do you know about Claudette Colvin, Alice Coachman, or Shirley Chisholm? If their names don't immediately ring a bell, you're not alone. In honor of Black History Month, we're shining a long-overdue spotlight on the hidden figures who deserve to be celebrated for their contributions to civil rights, politics, the arts, and beyond.” Learn more in this article by Michelle Darrisaw.
Take this quiz to discover more about African American inventors:
1. Who invented the fiber optic cable?
2. Who invented peanut butter?
3. Who was the first woman to become a self-made millionaire in America?
4. Who invented the carbon filament that was responsible for the creation of light bulbs?
5. Who invented the first home security system?
6. Who developed the first IBM computer?
7. Who invented the Super Soaker?
8. Who invented bloodmobiles?
9. Who invented online video and Shockwave?
10. Who added the yellow signal to traffic lights?
(answers in the link below)
West Virginia has a deep connection with black history. Residents of West Virginia are often unaware of the complex role the state experienced in regard to its own roots. Without digging into the events of the Reconstruction period in America, many people believe that slavery was abolished after the Civil War and former slaves were able to commence a life of freedom. This article by Joe William Trotter, Jr. details a more accurate account of a contentious history in West Virginia after the Civil War.
West Virginia history provides a focal snapshot as a microcosm of Black history in America as a whole. This article from the WV Gazette Mail newspaper details a history of West Virginia that represents a significant piece of the struggle of African-Americans throughout the country following the Civil War.
Did you know that West Virginia had its own Brown vs Board of Education in 1928, nearly 25 years before the famous federal case was won?  Black students in Kanawha county were barred by librarians and agents of the Charleston Public Library. The students were not allowed to enter the library, or to check out books or use materials there. Anderson Brown, E. L. Powell, and W. W. Sanders filed a case and won in the WV Supreme Court demanding that black citizens be allowed access to the library.
Delving into the history of African-Americans is an opportunity for us as Rotarians to learn more about ourselves, our society, and our views. There is so much to know, and so much more to learn about the past and the present. My hope is that this month’s program inspires us all to educate ourselves, enjoy learning more about African-American history all year long, and prompt us toward community engagement and service that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. encouraged: “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'”

OUR CLUB........................................................................

The Mountain State Rotary E-Club (MSRE) is a member club of Rotary International District 7545 (covering most of West Virginia, excluding the Eastern panhandle) and RI Zone 33, which encompasses a large portion of the eastern sector of the United States.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11at 11:30 a.m. via Zoom.
Link to be updated.
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