Black History Month
At Norman Public Schools, we strive to create an inclusive learning environment for all students. We celebrate Black History Month as one way to recognize the significant contributions of many students and staff who are incredibly important to the fabric of our school community. Black History Month originated in 1926 by Carter Godwin Woodson as Negro History Week. The month of February was chosen in honor of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who were both born in February.
Weekly Spotlight - Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm
Shirley Anita St. Hill Chisholm was born in 1924 to immigrant parents from the Caribbean region. She was an educator, American politician, and an author. She was the first African American woman elected to Congress (1968) and the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties (1972). Her campaign slogan was "Unbought and Unbossed".
In Congress, "Fighting Shirley" introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation and championed racial and gender equality, the plight of the poor, and ending the Vietnam War. She was a co-founder of the National Women's Political Caucus in 1971, and in 1977 became the first black woman, and the second woman ever, to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee.
Chisholm retired from Congress in 1983 after seven terms in office. She taught at Mount Holyoke College and co-founded the National Political Congress of Black Women. In 2015, Chisholm was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Of her legacy, Chisholm said "I want to be remembered as a woman....who dared to be a catalyst of change."
Weekly Spotlight - Jackie Robinson
During his 10-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career, Robinson won the inaugural Rookie of the Year Award in 1947, was an All-Star for six consecutive seasons from 1949 through 1954, and won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1949 - the first black player so honored. Robinson played in six World Series and contributed to the Dodgers' 1955 World Series Championship. He retired in 1956 and became active in civil rights, business, and politics.
In 1997, MLB retired his number 42 across all major league teams; he was the first professional athlete in any sport to be so honored. MLB also adopted a new annual tradition, "Jackie Robinson Day', on which every player on every team wears Number 42.
Robinson's character, his use of nonviolence, and his unquestionable talent challenged the traditional basis of segregation that had then marked many other aspect of American life. After his death in 1972, Robinson was posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his achievements on and off the field.
Weekly Spotlight - Wally "Famous" Amos
Wallace "Wally" Amos, Jr. went to college to become a secretary. After graduating, he took a job with the William Morris Agency and later became the first African American talent agent. He signed Simon & Garfunkel and headed the agency's rock 'n roll department. Wally would send clients an invitation to visit along with a chocolate chip cookie. The recipe was from his Aunt Della and was uncommon because it included several ingredients not generally associated with chocolate chip cookies. In 1975, with the help of his friends, Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy, Wally's first cookie store was opened in Los Angeles, California. The company began to expand and, eventually, Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies could be found on supermarket shelves across the United States.
Due to financial troubles, Amos was forced to sell the Famous Amos Company. The name "Famous Amos" was trademarked, so Wally Amos could no longer use his name. He went into business with another Famous Amos distributor under the name Uncle Noname Gourmet Muffins. The company's focus was fat-free, nutritious muffins. Uncle Noname became Uncle Wally's Muffin Company in 1999 and are sold in more than 3,500 stores nationwide.
The cookie comeback of "Famous" Wally Amos happened when Amos bought back his handmade cookies under the new name of The Cookie Kahuna. The flavors are original chocolate chip, chocolate chip with pecans and butterscotch with macadamia nuts.