TOPEKA, Kan. – This month, Governor Laura Kelly proclaimed February as Black History Month and encouraged Kansans to reflect on the many achievements and contributions made by African Americans to our economic, cultural, spiritual, and political development and strive to create a more inclusive, equitable Kansas.
“Black History Month is an opportunity for all Kansans to celebrate our diverse heritage and culture,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “As we reflect on the demonstrations in support of racial justice over the last year and our state’s history, I hope all Kansans will recommit to a more just and prosperous Kansas for all who choose to call our state home.”
In 1926, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, noted Black scholar and son of formerly enslaved persons, initiated Black History Week on February 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, Black History Week was expanded and became established as Black History Month.
Kansas has a time-honored legacy in our nation’s quest toward freedom and equality, which has helped to shape our country into a symbol of freedom and prosperity throughout the world.
In the summer of 1950, families from Topeka, Kansas, joined families from three other states, Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, in what is now the historic landmark case, Oliver L. Brown, et al. vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, et al. The Brown decision laid a foundation of equal rights and opportunities for all. It demonstrated that educational opportunity and achievement are core values and recognized that education could be a great equalizer among people of different races, classes, and backgrounds.
Visit the Kansas African Americans Affairs Commission website to learn more about the history, culture, and contemporary operations of the KAAAC. You can also learn more about the Brown v. Board of Education case at the national historic site and museum in Topeka.