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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.

Making A Difference: Highlighting Local Nonprofit Executive Directors As Part Of Black History Month

United Way of Washtenaw County

As Black History Month comes to a close, 89.1 WEMU’s Lisa Barry spoke to two Washtenaw County nonprofit executive directors honored for their contributions to making a difference in the local community.

Transitioning from We The People Growers Association to "We The People Opportunity Center," founder Melvin Parson and Marquan Jackson from Eastern Michigan's University Family Empowerment Program were highlighted by the United Way of Washtenaw County as part of Black History Month.  Jackson says, "We can't right what has happened but can right what can happen and be mindful and inclusive in our conversations." Adding "being comfortable talking about race" will help in making a difference in race relations moving forward.

Credit Lisa Barry
Marquan Jackson (left) and Melvin Parson (right) at the WEMU Studio.

Parson said he's worked hard at having a "seat at the table" as he expands his community efforts in agriculture and hopes to bring as many people as he can to the table with him.  Parson is working to match a $50,000 grant from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Ann Arbor to continue his community efforts.  You can contribute to the cause through his website.

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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