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Celebrate Black History MonthBlack history and culture is major a part of the American fabric -- and the school curriculum -- that it's difficult to imagine a time when that wasn't so. Established as Negro History Week in the 1920s by Carter G. Woodson, February was chosen for the celebration because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were born in this month. Black History month was extended to a month-long celebration in 1976. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history. During the month of February, 89.1 WEMU will feature programs and activities to commemorate, celebrate, and take opportunity to emphasize the history and achievements of African Americans.

African-American History in Washtenaw County

Washtenaw County

To wrap-up our Black History Month coverage, we spoke with Eastern Michigan University professor of Africology and African-American Studies, Ronald Woods.

He highlighted some of the most influential African-Americans of Washtenaw County.  Among them is David Byrd, who was the first black man to serve on the county's board of commissioners in the late 1960's.

Among his many other accomplishments include the fight for women's rights.  The professor added that African-Americans have had a big impact on Washtenaw County through civil rights movements and education, but more voices are needed in politics to address discrimination issues.

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— Jorge Avellan is the Ann Arbor beat reporter WEMU News.  Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him

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