Black families migrated in droves from southern states to upstate New York in the late 19th century. Many people want to deny this. But it’s a matter of historical record.
February is Black History Month — and it has its own history. The purpose of Black History Month is to celebrate of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month, according to the History Channel, the event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and prominent religious leader Jesse E. Moorland.
Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black history.
Greene and Columbia counties have good reasons to be proud of their Black Heritage. Major league baseball outfielder Mickey Brantley grew up in Catskill. Blues singer Thomasina Winslow, who died Jan. 18, hailed from New Baltimore. Charles Swain of Catskill was Greene County’s first minorities historian. The Rev. Richard Turpin, pastor of Catskill’s Second Reformed Church, is one of the county’s most respected community leaders.
On the other side of the river, Kamal Johnson is the first Black to be elected mayor of Hudson and the first Black municipal leader in Columbia County. Operation Unite Executive Director Elena Mosley is the city’s guiding light in community leadership, actor Harry Belafonte put Columbia County on the filmmaking map by starring in “Odds Against Tomorrow,” a heist drama set in Hudson and jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald escaped from Hudson’s New York State Training School for Girls, where she was sentenced to serve 3 to 5 years.
For us, for the Black population of both counties, they are excellent reasons to celebrate this month.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.