City commission recognizes Black History Month

Published 1:17 pm Thursday, February 14, 2019

On Monday, Danville City Commission passed a proclamation recognizing February as Black History Month, a nationally recognized observance of African-American contributions and their effect on America.

Resident James Hunn spoke early on at the meeting, drawing the commission’s attention to the fact half of the month had already gone by before the national observance was noticed by the city. He asked if the proclamation could not be brought up sooner going forward, and said  “I think I asked, or made the same comment last year.”

It was noted after the meeting that last year, the proclamation in observance of the month was moved back to January in order to get it done before February.

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Commissioner J.H. Atkins noted his concern. “Yes sir, it can be done. Probably should be done sometime in January, but you and I didn’t bring it to the attention, so it’s coming to the agenda tonight. We’ll try to start having that done in January.”

The month’s theme this year is “Black Migrations,” emphasizing the the “movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently new social realities,” as stated in the proclamation.

The theme focuses especially on the 20th century through present day, when migration included the relocation of African-Americans from southern farms into southern cities, from the South to the Northwest, Midwest and West after the end of the two World Wars.

“Such migrations resulted in a more diverse and stratified interracial and intraracial urban population amid a changing social milieu, such as the rise of the Garvey movement in New York, Detroit and New Orleans,” the proclamation says. The “Garvey movement” refers to Marcus Garvey, who died in 1940. He was president-general of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League, and known for inspiring a global movement of economic empowerment, eventually leading to the creation of the Nation of Islam, the Rastafari movement and the Black Power Movement of the 1960s.

The proclamation states that Black History Month promotes cultural enrichment, ethnic pride and self-esteem by celebrating the lives and achievements of great African-Americans.

Atkins took the opportunity to share with the city that the Kentucky Black Caucus will hold its spring summit here in Danville in April.

“We’ll be meeting the 12th and 13th of April here at Danville City Hall,” Atkins said. He and the president of the caucus, Sid Dunn — who is a member of the Burgin City Council — have been working to organize the annual summit.

“We’re hoping we’re going to have some really important forums … One will be a roundup of some things that have taken place in this current legislative session … There’s five or six bills filed on voter (rights) restoration,” Atkins said, “… A lot of neat things.”

Commissioner Kevin Caudill noted this is the second time Atkins has assisted in holding the Kentucky Black Caucus summit in Danville.