COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - I am J.T. McLawhorn, President and CEO of the Columbia Urban League.
Black History Month is a special time to recognize and celebrate the achievements of African Americans. The late African-American historian, Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History started Negro History Week in 1926, which in now Black History Month.
Many history makers we celebrate during the month were great servant leaders with an unwavering commitment to improving the quality of life for others.
Leaders such as Harriet Tubman, Thurgood Marshall, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as South Carolinians, Septima Clark, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Matthew Perry, and Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, are great examples of servant leaders.
As we celebrate Black History Month, we must remember the significance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 aimed to overcome barriers that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote.
Together, the legislation opened doors for African-American servant leaders to ascend to a leadership position in politics, government, businesses, and the non-profit sector.
As we celebrate Black History Month, we are calling on leaders in various sectors of society, to embrace servant leadership as a means of improving the quality of life for disadvantaged and underserved communities.