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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: November 29, 2023 01:37 PM
From: Representative Ismail Smith-Wade-El and Rep. Anthony A. Bellmon, Rep. Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz, Rep. Justin C. Fleming, Rep. Jose Giral, Rep. G. Roni Green, Rep. Carol Kazeem, Rep. Tarik Khan, Rep. Dave Madsen, Rep. La'Tasha D. Mayes, Rep. Lindsay Powell, Rep. Greg Scott, Rep. Arvind Venkat
To: All House members
Subject: Recognizing February 2024 as “Black History Month” in Pennsylvania
Black History Month honors the contributions and sacrifices of Black Americans who shaped this nation. The celebration of this rich cultural heritage would not have been possible without the creation of Negro History Week in the United States by famous historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro life and history. He envisioned a weeklong celebration to encourage the teaching of Black history in public schools.
What began as Negro History Week in February 1926, with Kent State University being one of the first to commemorate the holiday, expanded to Black History Month in 1970. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976 during the country’s bicentennial to honor the too-often neglected, too-often overlooked accomplishments of Black Americans throughout our history.
We, the first-term members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, will be introducing a resolution recognizing the month of February 2024 as “Black History Month” in Pennsylvania. The 2024 theme is “African Americans and the Arts,” spanning the broad, profound, and foundational role that Black Americans have played in American visual arts, music, drama, dance, and more.
Pennsylvania has been home and venue to many of the great Black artists, authors, and performers of this country, such as Billie Holiday, Marian Anderson, Questlove, August Wilson, and George Benson, just to name a few. Pennsylvania’s role in shaping many sounds and movements across America’s artistic landscape cannot be fully acknowledged without naming the pivotal role of Black Pennsylvanians in transforming music, art, and drama.
Black History is American history. Black art is American art and Pennsylvanian art—a legacy that ought to inspire pride in all who call the Commonwealth home. We dedicate this February to the ongoing work of justice and all the Black artists whose names we do not yet know.
Please join us in co-sponsoring this resolution.

Introduced as HR273