Black History Month

This month citizens of the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom will recognize the amazing contributions of people in the history of the African diaspora. Black History Month has its beginnings in 1926 in the United States, when historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced the second week of February to be “Negro History Week”. [1] Woodson created the holiday with the hope that it eventually would be eliminated when black history became fundamental to American history.[2]

The influences of Black people upon America’s history have been critical to its establishment. I appreciate Tom Joyner’s efforts to recognize Black History throughout the year, during his segment titled, Little Known Black History Facts. There are countless names of Black people who have made significant and magnificent contributions to our country, and yet are unsung.

I have a special appreciation for the contributions of Actor, Educator, Author and Playwright Carl Mahon. Mahon was the leading actor in Director and Producer Oscar Micheaux’s early films. These films include: The Exile, Veiled Aristocrats, Ten Minutes to Live, and The Girl From Chicago. “Mahon’s characters were always involved in unfortunate incidents usually regarding someone else. He would intervene to help and in his cool, calm, pleasant, intelligent demeanor always made for a happy ending. Mahon really introduced a new way of acting and a new image of a Black man on screen that Hollywood wouldn’t dare develop.” [3] As an educator, Mahon worked for the New York Board of Education, taught English and Math, and spoke three languages. As an Author and playwright, he wrote From Dusk to Dawn: Verses in Varying Moods in 1978 and several plays. Mahon was born on February 2, 1906 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and passed away on September 12, 1992 in Merrillville, Indiana.

Please join me, Rustin Mahon Lewis – the grandson of Carl Mahon, as I celebrate the efforts, struggles, and accomplishments of Black forerunners who have made it possible for us to achieve.

Carl Mahon1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_History_Month

2. “Freeman calls Black History Month ‘ridiculous'”. MSNBC. 15 December 2005. http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/10482634/ns/today-entertainment/t/freeman-calls-black-history-month-ridiculous/#.TzrCrUxWrTw. Retrieved 14 February 2012.

3. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0537070/bio

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