NO. R-54.† House concurrent resolution commemorating the observance of Black History Month.


Offered by:† Representatives Brooks of Montpelier, Connell of Warren, Hingtgen of Burlington, Houston of Ferrisburgh, Hube of Londonderry, Kitzmiller of Montpelier, Larson of Burlington, Obuchowski of Rockingham, Partridge of Windham, Rusten of Halifax, Starr of Troy and Symington of Jericho.

†††† Whereas, since the earliest days of European colonization of North America, African-Americans have played a pivotal role in our nationís history, and one of the first persons to sacrifice his life in a military confrontation, on behalf of American independence, was the African-American Crispus Attucks on March 5, 1770 at the Boston Massacre, and

†††† Whereas, the moving abolitionist essays of Frederick Douglass, which appeared as autobiographies in his own newspaper, first called the North Star, and in other publications, were an important rallying point for preCivil War efforts to abolish slavery in this country, including Vermont, which had abolished slavery before any other state and served as the location for stops along the Underground Railroad to Canada, and

†††† Whereas, despite these events, it was not until 1926 that Dr. Carter Woodson, a Ph.D. graduate of Harvard University, established Negro History Week (later expanded and renamed Black History Month) as an annual recognition of the severe travails, proud accomplishments, and major contributions that constitute African-Americansí role in our nationís history, and

†††† Whereas, Dr. Woodson selected the second week in February because the entire month is filled with many significant dates in the history of

African-Americans, including:† February 3, 1870, when Amendment XV to the United States Constitution granting African-Americans the right to vote was adopted, and February 12, 1909, when W.E.B. DuBois, one of the premier black American intellectuals of the early twentieth century, cofounded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) which remains Americaís leading civil rights organization on behalf of African-Americans, and

†††† Whereas, the Vermont General Assembly was the scene of a significant moment in African-American political history when in 1836, Alexander Twilight, an 1823 graduate of Middlebury College, became the first African-American to serve in a state legislature when he was sworn in as the representative from Brownington in the House of Representatives, and

†††† Whereas, Black History Month affords Vermonters a special opportunity, both to remember the struggles and to celebrate the triumphs which have marked African-Americansí journey through our nationís history, now therefore be it

†††† Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

†††† That the General Assembly recognizes the importance of studying black history, not only in the month of February, but throughout the year, and be it further

Resolved:† That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to the national headquarters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Baltimore, Maryland.