Black History Month Photo Challenge: Week 1

February is Black History Month, and we are sharing a weekly round-up of Black History Month Photo Challenge posts from Melvin Clayton, our Race Equity Director for Advocacy. Please enjoy and share! To see other contributions to the challenge, follow #BlackHistoryMonthChallenge on Facebook.

Day 1: Influential Black Male

W. E. B. DuBois: One of the most brilliant individuals to ever walk the Earth. You have to actually study his life to fully grasp how amazingly gifted he was. His book, “The Souls of Black Folk” was written in 1903 and is still so relevant 117 years later.


Day 2: Influential Black Woman

Oprah Winfrey: Oprah was born into abject poverty in the segregated Mississippi Delta and within her lifetime transcended into a billionaire! When she started her media career, there were very few seats at the table for women who looked like her, so she did it her way and created her own table.


Day 3: Civil Rights Leader

Fannie Lou Hamer: Mrs. Hamer was a voting rights activist community organizer, etc. from Mississippi. She organized Freedom Summer in collaboration with SNCC and co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus. During her advocacy for voting rights, she was arrested and beaten by police countless times, but she never gave up. Every time you cast a vote, you should think of Mrs. Hamer and the thousands of other unsung activists who made it possible.


 Day 4: A Sad Day in Black History

David Ruffin leaving the Temptations: The Temptations were the smoothest group of the 1960s. They went through several lead singers, but the hits didn’t really happen until David sang lead. He got a little too cocky and he was forced out in June 1968. Dennis Edwards was next up, and he was cool, but there’s only one David Ruffin.


Day 5: Monumental Day in Black History

January 20, 2009: Barack Hussein Obama took the oath of office as the 44th President of the United States and the first Black President, with his wife Michelle by his side. The inauguration, which set record attendance for any event held in Washington, D.C., marked the beginning of his two terms.


Day 6: Favorite Black Couple

Rudy Dee and Ossie Davis: The Hollywood legends were married in 1948. Dee and Davis starred in countless stage plays and movie productions together. Their most remembered collaborative film is Spike Lee’s “Do The Right Thing” in 1989.

In addition to acting, they were well-known civil rights activists and were both personal friends of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Together, they fought tirelessly over the years for equal rights for Black Americans.

They remained married until Mr. Davis passed away in 2005. Mrs. Dee passed away in 2014.


Day 7: Black Author & Book

The Souls of Black Folk (1903) by W.E.B. DuBois. This book is a pillar of Black literature. TSOBF is a collection of several essays on race, compiled from Mr. DuBois’ experiences as a Black man at the dawn of the 20th Century.

The most frequent symbol mentioned in TSOBF is “the veil” worn by all Black people. The veil serves as a metaphor for the color line, which during DuBois’ time was much more rigid, although it still exists today.

Another interesting subject that he writes about is “double consciousness”, the concept that Black people in America have two fields of vision at all times. A consciousness of how they view themselves but also a consciousness of how the world views them.

I personally read TSOBF yearly and it’s amazing how a book discussing “the race problem” in 1903 is still insanely relevant in 2020.