Black History Month has arrived with opportunities to learn

Published 4:42 pm Sunday, February 4, 2024

Black History Month is officially upon us and, as always, it comes as a great opportunity to not only teach children and adults alike about the contributions, history, and culture brought about by Black inventors, entrepreneurs, politicians and more, but also to honor these men and women for their work in our country, state and local community.

We all know this time of year is perfect for focusing on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Not only did much of his life and work in the Civil Rights movement take place right here in the Southeast, but we are coming off the national holiday celebrated each year on his birthday in January.

But, there are so many other Black men and women who have left indelible impacts on this part of our country. Just across the bridge in Delta, Madame C.J. Walker is honored each year for her philanthropic work, as well as for her legacy as the first female, self-made millionaire in the United States. Walker developed a line of hair care and cosmetic products specifically for Black women, but is now known as much for her activism as for her business prowess.

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Here in Vicksburg, we can boast about residents like jazz musician Milt Hinton, Blues artist Willie Dixon, actress Beah Richards, and fashion designer Patrick Kelly, just to name a few.

One of our community’s more recent residents to make his mark on the national consciousness is football player Malcolm Butler, who burst onto the scene and Americans’ radars when he intercepted a pass from then-Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to seal the victory for his New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIV. Butler has since made many appearances back home in Vicksburg at many charitable events, devoting his time to bettering his hometown.

When it comes to the list of contributions from Black men and women in our part of Mississippi alone, we could go on and on. So, this year, we encourage everyone, student or graduate, child or adult, to take some time and learn more about at least one of our many impressive natives, transplant citizens, or regular visitors. They have all left a unique mark on Vicksburg and its culture.