Today marks the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the first of three marches that would spur the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Voter suppression among the black community was an unwritten law across the Jim Crow south in the first half of the 20th century, and Selma, a small town in the heart of Alabama, became a pivotal battleground in the fight for civil rights.
In 1976, when Black History Month was officially acknowledged by the U.S. government, President Gerald Ford gave a (very brief) speech. "In celebrating Black History Month, we can take satisfaction from this recent progress in the realization of the ideals envisioned by our Founding Fathers.," Ford said. "But, even more than this, we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." Almost 40 years since Ford's remarks, the belief that Black History Month is used as a time to "honor the too-often neglected accomplishments" of blacks that have helped better shape America is only partially true.