In 1967, President Gerald Ford officially declared February, the birth month of famed Abolitionists Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, to be Black History Month to, in his words, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Now, 57 years later, Black History Month remains a highly regarded celebration that shows appreciation for those who have made significant contributions to our nation and culture and are sources of motivation and positive influence.
To honor the month, we spoke with some of our Palm Beach Atlantic University student leaders who shared about African Americans they look up to in their everyday lives.
Inspirational Faculty: Dr. Thomas Parham
At PBA, students are surrounded by many inspirational professors and instructors who selflessly impart Godly teaching and counsel daily to raise the next generation in wisdom and love.
Anchor volunteer Ben Hurovitz described one of those esteemed faculty members, Dr. Thomas Parham, professor of communication and media studies, as a role model and a true expert in his field.
“His experience and passion make him uniquely suited for instructing students about the industry and the art of filmmaking and cinematography,” said Hurovitz.
Sports Icons as Role Models: Dusty Baker’s Legacy
College and professional athletes also serve as role models on and off the field (or court) to many, including Steering Committee member Rex Fick.
Fick described now-retired Houston Astros Manager Johnnie B “Dusty” Baker Jr, the seventh most winning manager in Major League Baseball, having accumulated 2,183 team wins, as someone who not only “brought a championship to Houston” but someone who inspirationally was “a player’s manager,” who genuinely cared about the men under his leadership.
Musical Inspirations: Trip Lee’s Professional Flexibility
Similarly, musicians can positively inspire multitudes, including Workship Student Leader Jackson Overholt, through their lyrics and deeds.
Overholt mentioned Dove Award-winning Christian Artist Trip Lee as a fellow believer whose professional “flexibility” he admires. Overholt said that Lee “started out with a music career, then he used his platform as a speaker for the Gospel.”
Leadership and Impact: The Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Of course, some seemingly dedicate their entire lives to bettering the world by promoting unity and peace, such as Manuela Vargas’ inspiration, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Vargas serves as the Resident Coordinator for Johnson Hall. She described Dr. King as a leader who nobly “wanted everyone to be equal, and [to have] equal opportunity.”
Dr. King, a visionary leader and eloquent orator, tirelessly advocated for racial equality, spearheading nonviolent protests and initiatives that challenged the deeply rooted segregation and discrimination prevalent in American society during the mid-20th century. His iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, delivered during the historic March on Washington in 1963, remains etched in the collective memory as a powerful call for a harmonious and integrated nation.
Vargas reflects on Dr. King’s enduring commitment to fostering a society where everyone would have equal opportunities regardless of their background. His advocacy extended beyond racial issues, encompassing economic justice and eradicating poverty. Dr. King’s belief in the transformative power of love and nonviolent resistance left an indelible mark on the fabric of American society.
As the nation pauses to celebrate Black History Month, Manuela Vargas pays homage to Dr. King’s legacy, recognizing the ongoing relevance of his teachings in fostering equality, understanding, and a shared commitment to building a better, more just world.