May 31, 2020
Dear ASALH Members and Friends,
Death comes too swiftly, too easily to African American communities. COVID-19 has proved this, as it ravages our people and continues to destroy life in many ways: killing our loved ones outright; terminating jobs, food, and housing; and annihilating dreams for a better future. Yet death also comes too often, too unrelentingly from acts of racial injustice. As if a death knell announcing the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis policemen, protest rang out so loudly and furiously in cities across the nation that it silenced calls for self-quarantine and social distancing despite COVID-19. The callousness of the police officers had been captured on video for the world to see in real time. And we were reminded of more black lives ended, such as that of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky in March and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia just a few weeks earlier in February.
African American history confirms that the cumulative impact of acts of racial violence—from black enslavement to convict leasing, from lynching to racial massacres (for example, Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921 and Rosewood, Florida in 1923), from segregation to voter disfranchisement, and from mass incarceration to killings by the police in the twenty-first century—has proved to be a far more virulent threat to and killer of black lives than any epidemic in our nation’s past.
What must we do, then, if we truly seek to build a better world for ourselves and our children? African American history provides a three-fold answer. First, we must continue to protest, but we must do so nonviolently. Second, we must support organizations and efforts that seek to create a more just society for all people (inclusive of race, religion, and sexuality), but we must do so also by calling out acts of injustice when and where we see them. Last but certainly not least, we must vote in every election, but we must do so especially in 2020.
Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham
ASALH National President
Manasota ASALH Members Robert Fitzgerald and Bernard Watson appear on WEDU in connection with the airing of the “Veterans of Color” DVD in November of 2015. The hour-long film explores the untold stories of African American men and women who served in all branches of the US military. For more info click here.
Dr. James Stewart was recognized in the International Journal of African Studies.
Manasota ASALH is the largest branch in the national ASALH network, and one of the most active. Join our branch representing the Sarasota Bradenton area and get involved!
The national founder of ASALH, Carter G. Woodson believed that the mission of disseminating knowledge about Black history could best be achieved through branches such as our own.
Manasota ASALH was conceived by Ernestine Harris, who organized a meeting in October 1995 to discuss the idea of beginning a branch of ASALH in the Manatee/Sarasota County area.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the Father of Black History Month, founded the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History (ASALH) on September 9, 1915.
“When you control a man’s thinking, you do not have to worry about his actions. He will find his “proper place” and stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will protest until one is made for his use. His education demands it.”
Manasota ASALH branch is located in the Bradenton Sarasota area. ASALH mission is to promote, research, preserve, interpret and disseminate information about black life history and culture. Branch meetings of Manasota ASALH, attended by members and friends of Sarasota and Bradenton areas, are opportunities to network and to plan for ASALH events. Each meeting begins with a Moment in History, a brief presentation about a key point in local, national, or historic African American History. These presentations enrich our knowledge base and help to deepen the connection between Manasota ASALH and the Manatee and Sarasota community.