Black History Month: February 2022

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.



Stevie Wonder is a musician, singer-songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist. Wonder signed with Motown's Tamla label at age 11 and continued to perform and record for the label until the early 2010s. He has recorded more than 30 US top ten hit records and has received 25 Grammy Awards — the most ever awarded to a male solo artist. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide —  making him one of the top 60 best-selling musical artists. In 2013, Billboard magazine released a list of the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart's 55th anniversary, with Wonder at number six. Wonder is reportedly worth $110 million.


Stevie Wonder was born Steveland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michigan.
Due to being born six weeks premature, Wonder was born with a condition called retinopathy of prematurity, which made him blind
Wonder began playing instruments at an early age, including piano, harmonica and drums
At age 49, Wonder was youngest-ever recipient in the 22-year history of Kennedy Center Honors given annually for lifetime contribution to arts and culture, presented by President Bill Clinton in Wash DC, Dec. 5, 1999.
At the age of 17, Wonder performed with The Jimi Hendrix Experience playing drums at the BBC. (Jammin'/I was made to love her, BBC Sessions)
Elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.
He was voted the 15th Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Artist of all time by Rolling Stone.
In his acceptance speech for the Oscar for Best Song in 1984, Wonder dedicated his award to imprisoned civil rights leader Nelson Mandela. The South African government promptly banned Wonder's music from the country.
Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday a holiday in the United States
Wonder has nine kids.
In addition to his being blind, Wonder also has loss of smell due to a 1973 car crash in North Carolina from which he also has a scar.
His 1976 song "Isn't She Lovely" (from album "Songs in the Key of Life") was dedicated to then newborn daughter Aisha whose name and "baby sounds" can be heard on the track
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983.
Inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame in 2011.
First African-American artist to win the Grammy Award for "Album of the Year" for "Innervisions" (1973). The trophy was presented by Telly Savalas and Cher (Hollywood Palladium / 2 March 1974).


On having a vision: "Just because a man lacks the use of his eyes doesn't mean he lacks vision."
On life: "Time is long but life is short."
On self-love: "I am what I am. I love me! And I don't mean that egotistically – I love that God has allowed me to take whatever it was that I had and to make something out of it."
On his mom: "Mama was my greatest teacher, a teacher of compassion, love and fearlessness. If love is sweet as a flower, then my mother is that sweet flower of love."


In 2013, Stevie Wonder boycotts Florida following Zimmerman verdict:

["I've decided today that until the stand your ground law is abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again. (audience claps)."] SOUNDCUE (:15 OC . . . perform there again) 

In 2014, Stevie Wonder spoke on "Songs In The Key Of Life" standing the test of time: 

[“It speaks of a kind of place that I was in when I did it, y’know? So, it speaks of a kind of place that I was in growing up, y’know, in Detroit and things I experienced. So those songs are a combination of different things that, y’know, experiences that I had.”] SOUNDCUE (:16 OC: . . . that I had)

In 2020, Stevie Wonder speaks on the importance of voting:

["To those who say they care — move more than your mouth. Move your feet to the polls and use your hands to vote. The future is in your hands. The youngest at 18 and the oldest at 110 can make a difference. Make your plan now to vote; because right now, there are forces trying to take your vote away in November."] SOUNDCUE (:16 OC: . . . away in November)


In 1760, Richard Allen born in slavery in Philadelphia.
In 1817, Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and orator, was possibly born. 
In 1867, Morehouse College organized in Augusta, Georgia. The institution was later moved to Atlanta. New registration law in Tennessee abolished racial distinctions in voting.
In 1936, National Negro Congress organized at Chicago meeting attended by 817 delegates representing more than 500 organizations. Asa Phillip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was elected president of the new organization.
In 1946, Entertainer and dancer Gregory Hines born.


Politician, educator and Brooklyn native Shirley Chisholm survived three assassination attempts during her campaign for the 1972 Democratic nomination to the U.S. presidency.



Frederick Douglass was an ex-slave and it is estimated that he was born in 1817 on the eastern shore of Maryland. He was the son of an enslaved black woman and a white plantation owner. Frederick Douglass became a noted abolitionist, author and orator, who dedicated his life to the eradication of slavery and segregation in churches, schools and public trains. He published an anti-slavery newspaper entitled the North Star, and housed runaway slaves on the underground railroad. He wrote three autobiographies, including the Narratives of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In 1889, Frederick Douglass arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to serve as the U.S. minister to Haiti. He was appointed by President William Henry Harrison and served as minister to Haiti until 1891. He died in 1895."