OLYMPIA – February is Black History Month, and today the Washington State House of Representatives formally recognized the occasion by adopting a resolution on the House floor. It was sponsored by Rep. Melanie Morgan, D-Parkland, a freshman lawmaker and member of the Legislature’s newly-formed Black Caucus.
“As black members, we have a lot to celebrate this year,” Rep. Morgan said. “We finally have a Black Caucus. We are part of the most diverse legislative body in state history. We are proud to stand together and continue the work black leaders of this nation have done to advance diversity and justice in our laws and policies.”
The origins of Black History Month go all the way back to 1925, when historian Carter G. Woodson had the idea to raise awareness of the history and contribution of black Americans. At the time, it was observed for one week in February. In 1976, President Gerald Ford expanded Black History Week to Black History Month.
The vast contributions of notable black Americans mentioned in the resolution include scientific achievements, military heroism, literary talent, civil rights activism, and political leadership.
In addition to adopting the Black History Month resolution, proceedings in the House today included a performance of “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” also known as the “Black National Anthem,” and a medley of songs performed by Rise Up, the Seattle-area Hamilton tribute band. Black community leaders from the Puget Sound area were also recognized in the House gallery.
“This is what happens when a legislative body starts to look more like the people it represents. It’s important for black people across Washington to see their state lawmakers celebrating the contributions of black Americans in a meaningful way,” Morgan said.