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February - Black History Month (Feb 2004)

2004 Press Releases

Black History Month
February 2004

Black History Month evolved from the Negro History Week founded by Carter Godwin Woodson, human rights movement activist, in 1926. Carter G. Woodson established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1915 in order to collect historic documents and to train Afro-American scholars. He founded the Journal of Negro History (1916), Associated Publishers (1922), and the Negro History Bulletin (1937).

To mark Black History Month we publish an essay of a third-year student of the Institute of International Relations in Yekaterinburg. Marina Saifullina, an author, called her essay I Have a Dream – a citation from a famous Martin Luther King, Jr. speech.

The Information Resource Center offers you a list of the selected links where you can find the best materials on the Afro-American history, art, and modern life. There is an electronic journal Toward One America: A National Conversation on Race that you can read both in English and Russian among those useful links.


Yekaterinburg high school students gathered February 25 at the American Center to celebrate Black History Month with music, discussions, and role playing to focus attention on civil rights and tolerance. After a brief introduction describing how traditional African American music reflected faith and the struggle for equality in America, Pol/Econ Officer Barbara Cates and the English Language Song Club sang spirituals and famous civil rights songs. Two teams then debated social equality, played word association games with "black" and "white," and drew posters on the theme of civil liberties. The students studied the history of the American civil rights movement throughout the month of February using American Center resources and a web page on Black History Month prepared by Yekaterinburg’s IRC.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968) was a Baptist minister and a civil rights movement leader. He delivered famous speech "I Have A Dream" at the March on Washington, August 28th, 1963, from the Lincoln Memorial. With its wisdom and energy the speech touched the very heart of America.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Speech "I Have a Dream":

Essay by Marina Saifullina
"I Have A Dream"

One day I heard a black man say, "I have a dream, my friends…" And these words stuck deeply in my soul. This man spoke about his dream, the dream that was born in the heart of his hearts in a segregated American and deeply rooted in the American dream as it goes "that all men are created equal." I thought these were the right words since they are the words of truth, which is but one.

Then, I heard the man was killed but I knew his words were not for nothing. The seeds were dropped into the fertile soil and rooted and grew and were abundant in their own seed. So, the man did not die for nothing I thought. I saw the end of Segregation, I saw Equality blossom on "the red hills of Georgia", I saw the fruits of Justice, I smelled Liberty at "the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado", I heard Freedom ring "from Stone Mountain" – I saw the dream, the dream of the black man come true. And that was right, for the truth is but one.

And now when I hear that there are no more dreams to come true, when they say that America gives no more freedom but brings injustice and oppression, I just cannot believe it. I cannot and I do not want to believe it because I know where the seeds of justice were once dropped there cannot be any weeds, for Justice itself is a mighty grass. And Sister Freedom is not all so weak to be got rid of.

That is why I say today, today when the whole world is calling for Justice and Equality, when the Globe is suffocating with wars, hunger, and AIDS, when people do not believe anything any more, I say I have a dream. I have a dream to go and see with my own eyes all that the black man was dreaming of, all that he was struggling for, and all that he was killed for: all that now is called from every corner of our small planet by a single word – Democracy. And I have a dream to see it with my own eyes and to bring other people my word for it.

Useful Black History Month Links: