Stephen Payne: What Black History Month Means To Me
Black History Month holds a special place in my heart as an African American. Growing up as a kid in Alabama, I witnessed firsthand the significance of this annual celebration and the importance of remembering those who paved the way for equality in the United States.
Every February, as Black History Month unfolds, it serves as a poignant reminder of the struggles and triumphs of African Americans in this state and across the whole nation.
One of the most powerful aspects of Black History Month for me is the opportunity to reflect on the courageous individuals who dared to keep fighting for equality. I think of Rosa Parks, who, on a bus in Montgomery, refused to give up her seat, igniting the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement. I remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose dream of equality and justice echoed through the streets of Birmingham, my hometown.
Black History Month is not only about looking back but also about acknowledging the progress we’ve made and the work that still lies ahead. It’s about celebrating the achievements of African Americans in fields ranging from arts and sports to science and politics, even soccer. It’s a time to honor the resilience and contributions of a community that has faced adversity with unwavering determination. It’s a reminder that my heritage is a force of strength and it’s also a call to continue the journey of inclusivity and equality.
Editor’s note: Stephen Payne, defender for Forward Madison FC, shared his thoughts on Black History Month.