February 2024: Reflection and Celebration #BHM2024
The story of Black History Month begins half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. In September of 1915, the Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
What Black History Month Means to WTS International
People of color, and especially Black women, have been and continue to be a foundational part of our most fundamental transportation systems. From rail to aviation to surface and public transportation, Black women are leading the way and advocating for a more equitable industry. As WTS International grows to over 9,000+ members across North America, we are thankful for this opportunity to reflect on who has made our community strong: diverse voices and experiences whom we recognize, celebrate, honor, and thank – this month and throughout the year.
This year’s theme: African Americans and the Arts
This year’s Black History Month theme is “African Americans and the Arts,” which celebrates the rich history and lives of Black American art and artists. Black writers, performers, designers, builders, and visual artists have historically served as change agents, using their crafts to shape culture, preserve history, and lead cultural movements.
Black artists have had an undeniable impact on transportation, from pioneering architecture and technological advances to driving culture and development in communities across the country.
What we ask of our members, stakeholders, and the WTS Community this Black History Month
In February 2024, we ask WTS members, chapter leaders, partners, stakeholders, and staff to take time to engage and connect with the work of a Black artist. This theme offers a unique opportunity to embrace the intersection of arts, transportation, and African American creators.
This may mean visiting a park, contemplating a piece of architecture, reveling in the beauty of a mural, purchasing a book of poetry, or attending a concert – it’s up to you!
Consider these examples starting points for your own reflective journey. As you celebrate the beauty and background of the works you find, we encourage you to share the greater impact and influence of Black art and artists on community development and transportation. Upload your photos and personal reflections to your social media accounts with the hashtags #BHM2024, #WTSBHM24, #BlackHistoryMonth2024, #CelebrateBlackHistory, #CelebratingBlackArt, and we’ll curate and share at the end of the month.
Thank you, and may your February be a time of growth and discovery!