Black History Month: February 2023

To recall and celebrate the positive contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week beginning on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.


Denzel Washington is more than just tall, dark and handsome. The Academy Award winner is considered one of America's finest actors. He career began on television's St. Elsewhere. The role led to parts in films like Cry Freedom and Malcolm X, and Glory for which he received an Oscar for best supporting actor. He went on to score a Golden Globe for best actor for The Hurricane. And he earned another Academy Award, this time for best actor, for the film Training Day. Other films that the actor has starred in include, Inside Man, Antoine Fisher The Book of Eli, Safe House and Flight.


Born December 28, 1954, in Mount Vernon, New York Met his wife Pauletta in 1977 when both had small roles in the 1977 TV-movie Wilma, the story of runner Wilma Rudolph. They wed five years later. Has four children: John David, Katia, and twins Malcolm and Olivia. In the early 1980s, years before he portrayed Malcolm X in the Spike Lee film, Washington portrayed Malcolm X in the off-Broadway production of When the Chickens Came Home to Roost. Washington's son Malcolm was named in honor of Malcolm X To prepare for his role as boxer Rubin Carter in Hurricane, Washington worked out for a year with L.A. boxing trainer Terry Claybon. In a Newsweek cover story about the biological basis of the perception of beauty, he was used as a key example in a scientific explanation why he is considered an extremely handsome man. Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world in 1990. Denzel is named after his father, who was in turn named after the doctor who had delivered him, Doctor Denzel. Supports charities such as the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, and the Gathering Place, an AIDS hospice. His father was a Pentecostal minister; his mother was a beautician and former gospel singer. They divorced when he was 14. Is a spokesperson for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, having been a member of the Boys Club once himself. Only the second actor of color, after Sidney Poitier, to win the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He won for Training Day in 2002. Was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People magazine in 2002. Cousin is CBS anchorman Ukee Washington. Made his directorial debut in 2002 with Antoine Fisher (2002). He went on to direct The Great Debaters (2007). He took on the role as producer of films like The Book of Eli (2010) and Safe House (2012) He has won two Academy Awards, one Tony, three Golden Globes, two MTV Movie Awards, four BET Awards and 15 NAACP Image Awards. (source:


Washington saying his acting had nothing to do with him winning the 2002 Academy Award for best actor for his role in Training Day: “It was a cleanup award. It happens all the time. I remember when Al Pacino won, and I was up for Malcolm X that year. This was his eighth nomination and I didn't want to win. I have so much respect for him and what he's done.”

Denzel Washington saying his early career moves were made with the help of legendary actor Sidney Poitier: “(Poitier) told me to be very careful choosing my first roles, because that would determine how Hollywood perceived me.”

Washington on mentoring young men as he played a coach in the film Remember The Titans: “One of the things I learned is it's important to share what you know, because they were sitting around and they were hungry and they were asking me questions… It's a different generation. These guys are 20 or 25, and I'm 45, so they want to know, 'How did you do this? What do you feel?' so it was sort of a parent/father-son relationship for me and them.”


Washington revealing what he was interested in as a child: “Football. Wasn't interested in acting, didn't know anything about it. Didn't know anybody who was. Didn't have a lot of examples, or reasons to want to be like anybody because there wasn't anybody out there who looked like me. So, you know, I grew up a jock, and I was 20 years old before I took an acting class, because somebody told me, 'It's easy. You can get an A.'” Washington on playing a bad guy in Training Day. “It was a lot of fun because it was new. I've done, I don't know, almost 30 pictures now, and this is the first time I've ever done anything like this, and it was fun to be able to say whatever you wanted to say and get away with it, you know? And no one's ever asked me to play the bad guy–I guess they don't look at me that way. Maybe they will now.”


In 1894, Congress repealed the Enforcement Act, which made it easier for some states to disenfranchise African-American voters. In 1925, Marcus Garvey entered federal prison in Atlanta. Students staged a strike at Fisk University to protest the policies of the white administration. In 1944, Harry S. McAlphin became the first African-American to be accredited to attend a White House press conference. In 1968, Officers killed three students during demonstration on the campus of South Carolina State in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Students were protesting segregation at an Orangeburg bowling alley. In 1978, Leon Spinks defeated Muhammad Ali for the heavyweight boxing championship. Ali regained the title on September 15th and became the only person to win the title three times. In 1986, Oprah Winfrey became the first African-American woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show. In 1986, Figure skater Debi Thomas became the first African-American to win the Women's Singles of the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship competition. She was a pre-med student at Stanford University. In 2008, the estranged father, Dean Barrow, of incarcerated rapper Shyne is elected the first black prime minister of Belize.


Which civil rights activist gained notoriety in the late nineteenth century for her scathing editorials denouncing racial injustice?

A) Sojourner Truth B) Zora Neale Hurston C) Ida B. Wells

The answer is C) Ida B. Wells. Wells was the editor and part owner of the Memphis Free Speech newspaper. Truth was an illiterate freed slave who traveled widely throughout the North preaching emancipation and women's rights. Hurston, a trained anthropologist, also wrote fiction, including two novels.



Barrington Irving is the first black man to pilot a plane around the world solo. At 30, he is also the youngest person and first Jamaican to accomplish this feat.

He has also founded Experience Aviation, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering minority youth to pursue careers in aviation