In Honor Of Black History Month

Dear Colleagues,

Today, in the midst of Black History Month, we relish the chance to reflect on the innovation, spirit, and courage infused through our nation by Black Americans. Despite a history of unimaginable hardship, persecution, and racial barriers, Black Americans have contributed to the advancement and flourishing of our country in countless ways, for example:

1. Inventions to improve our lives, such as the refrigerator (John Standard), ironing board (Sarah Boone), clothes dryer (George T. Samon), lightbulb filament (Lewis Howard Latimer), and heating furnace (Alice Parker);

2. Technology in mobility, including the elevator (Alexander Miles), locomotive engineering (Elijah McCoy), automatic transmission (Richard Spikes), and the supercharger in internal combustion engines (Joseph Gammel);

3. Advances in medicine, such the blood bank (Charles Drew), open-heart surgery (Daniel Hale Williams), treatment of leprosy (Alice Ball) and breast cancer (Myra Adele Logan), and the laser cataract tool (Patricia Bath);

4. Scientific discoveries in animal cognition (Charles Henry Turner), synthesis of medicinal plant compounds (Percy Lavon Julian), and the mathematical modeling of the earth used in GPS navigation (Gladys West);

5. Pioneering advocacy for abolition and women’s rights (Sojourner Truth), health equity (Sophia B. Jones), racial equality (Martin Luther King, Jr.), civil and gay rights (Bayard Rustin), and racial and social justice through such arenas as law and political service (Constance Baker Motley), sociology (W.E.B. Du Bois), photojournalism and filmmaking (Gordon Parks), and literature (Maya Angelou); and,

6. Groundbreaking psychological research leading to desegregated education (Kenneth & Mamie Clark), the development of racial identity theory with wide-ranging applications (Janet E. Helms), and the formulation of a revolutionary Black Psychology (Joseph White).

Yet we recognize the struggle for full inclusion and equity is ongoing and that the call for justice and restoration remains ever salient. On the heels of our 2023 Mid-Winter Conference, we must tenaciously use our roles and influence to advocate, to mentor our students to fight the good fight, and to cling to the promise of radical hope:

Lift every voice and sing,
Til earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

(Black National Anthem/Lift Every Voice and Sing,
1900, Lyrics by James Weldon Johnson,
Music by John Rosamond Johnson)

In solidarity,
Leihua Edstrom, NCSPP President, &
Konjit Page, Chair of NCSPP’s Sexual Orientation & Gender Diversity Committee