A time to celebrate

February is Black History Month, a time to remember and honor the people and events that helped shape history in the United States. We can’t fit them all in this space, so here is a sample, taken from the Biography.com site, of some important black-history facts and moments:

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded in 1909 as an offshoot of the Niagara Movement, which met on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls because of segregation laws in the United States.

Jesse Owens was the first athlete to win four Olympic gold medals in 1936.

In 1940, Booker T. Washington (pictured) became the first African-American to appear on a U.S. postage stamp.

In 1967, Thurgood Marshall became the first black justice on the Supreme Court. He was followed by Clarence Thomas in 1991.

California was the first state to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a school holiday in 1970. It didn’t become a national federal holiday until 1983.

Oprah Winfrey started her TV career in 1986—she was the first black woman to host a nationally syndicated talk show.

Writer Toni Morrison became the first African-American to win the Nobel Prize in literature in 1993.

Colin Powell was the first black officer to serve as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the first black secretary of state. Condoleezza Rice followed, and was named the most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine in 2004 and 2005.

Whitney Houston has been named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most awarded female artist of all time.

There have only been five black U.S. senators. One of them is Barack Obama, who was also the first black president of the Harvard Law Review.