LINDEN — In celebration of Black History Month, Councilman Derek Armstead is inviting parents to visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DEREK.ARMSTEAD this February. Each day, he plans to post accomplishments of famous and lesser-known African-Americans that parents can utilize to teach their children.
This celebratory month is not simply about African-Americans, but African descendants and their enormous amount of invaluable contributions to the United States and to the world, according to Armstead. He hopes Black History Month will allow families to reflect on the past while as the same time contemplating our present and future.
Everybody knows about famous African-American firsts like Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama,” Armstead said. “But most of our young people do not know about the amazing feats of these lesser-known black pioneers, such as Booker T. Washington; he was the first African-American to be invited to the White House, by President Theodore Roosevelt. He was also the first African-American to be depicted on a postage stamp. The list goes on: Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American performer to win an Oscar; Jack Johnson was the first black boxer to be world heavyweight champion. Vivien Thomas was a pioneer in the development of heart surgery to treat blue baby syndrome in newborns.”
Armstead himself can relate to being the first. He defied the odds and ran for Mayor in 2010. He became the first African-American to win the Democratic primary for Mayor in Linden, but lost the general election by absentee ballots. Armstead went on to explain despite his loss, his candidacy for Mayor represented hope for the future and he is looking forward to the day where we don’t need to dedicate months to learn about history or recognize the great accomplishment of group of people.