OPM African American History Month

Uploaded by USOPM on 09.02.2012

This year National African American History month celebrates the role African American
women have played in shaping the character of our Nation. As courageous visionaries,
African American women have led the fight to end slavery and fought to expand basic
civil rights to all Americans – they have long served as champions of social and political
change. We reached out to a few of the remarkable African American women at OPM and asked them
what African American History Month means to them.
I remember, as a child, the riots in 1968. I remember the National Guard patrolling the
streets that spring. I remember inaugurations. I remember the Million Man March. I remember
President Obama and his inauguration. It really means a lot; we have come a long ways with
being honored. Because I remember a time where we were never discussed. Or if we were discussed
it was very brief. We really have a lot to celebrate in this day and time. Someone who
really inspires me ever since I was a child was Harriet Tubman. Not just because of African
American Heritage Month, but just in general. The drive that she took to decide to lead
the Underground Railroad, where I am from was actually a main stop in the Underground
Railroad in Ironton, Ohio. So growing up I would be playing with my friends like “wow,
Harriet Tubman was probably here.” So I always felt a little piece of me wanted to
be like Harriet and stand up for what was right and lead people who may have not feel
confident to do it by themselves, but as a team she helped guide them, you know, up North
to freedom. I think for me African American History Month is more, it’s really a celebration
of what our great leaders before us and our great leader to come have done and some of
their wonderful contributions to not only African American History, but to just American
History in general. I think it’s just a celebration of what they have given back to
the community and for me that’s what it is about, actually giving back. I think one
of the things is that, if even if my children I would aspire them to do is give back. I
think the most important thing is education. I think there is a lot of history, its American
history, but it’s not readily available. I think the one thing that Black History Month
actually does do is it allows people to actually learn about things they may not have otherwise
known. As an attorney I remember the Monumental City Bar Association, which is the historically
black Bar Association in Baltimore City, and it was actually co-founded by Sarah Goode
Marshall and we do programs during Black History Month to educate the young children in Baltimore
City about the importance of their history, and education and just knowing the rich history
that African Americans have within the country to inspire them to do greater things.
One of the people I look up to the most is my grandma and it was funny because as she
started getting older you start realizing they are not going to be here that much longer
and its not like a negative thing where you are thinking. I don’t know. As you get older
you realize that they are not going to be around forever. And so my sister and I decided
to start talking to her more about her past. It’s funny because people like my mom, who
is 71, and my grandmother, they didn’t talk about the past, you know. They were very present
people and you think that they would like to. You would think that they would share
all of these wonderful interesting things that they have done, but they didn’t. When
we started learning about like the fact that she was one of the first “colored” people
to for Sears & Roebuck Co. back in the day and she was she actually boycotted in Philadelphia,
she was from the North, and she picked my grandmother, you know. And I am thinking “Why
didn’t you, why didn’t you ever share this?” And she thought. She owned a store,
a corner store, my grandmother. To learn more about the events celebrating
African American women visit our photo exhibit hanging in the cafeteria corridor.