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Celebrate Black History Month at Scholastic
Click here for more Black History Month information.
(Photo: AP Wide World)
February is Black History Month, a time when special attention is given to African-American contributions to history. The idea for Black History Month came from Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Woodson, a historian, said American history books did not give enough attention to African-Americans.

Woodsoon began a tradition of recognizing the second week of February (because it included the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and President Lincoln) as a time to focus on black history. That week of black history eventually became what we know today as Black History Month.

To celebrate Black History Month in the U.S., Scholastic News Online brings you interviews and news recognizing African-American achievement.
Visit Scholastic's Online Activity on Black History Month for a look at more African-American leaders, a historic time line, and activities.

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Journalist Ed Bradley
TV journalist Ed Bradley talks with Scholastic News Online.
(Photo: Suzanne Freeman)
Top TV journalist tells Scholastic Kid Reporter about his life.
By Madhuri Vastare
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

January 2006—With plants, rugs, lamps, and living room furniture, Ed Bradley's New York office looks like a second home. What stands out are the golden Emmy awards scattered around on bookshelves and table tops in the CBS 60 Minutes headquarters. He has received 19 in all, including an Emmy for Lifetime Achievement.

Those 19 Emmys are just a few of the honors Bradley has received throughout his career. Although he is now famous for his TV reports, Bradley got his start in radio. He recently spoke to a Scholastic News Online Kid Reporter about his life as a journalist and as an African-American.

"I grew up in a time when we were past slavery, but we were not past the fact of segregation," Bradley said.

Bradley, 64, is a native of Philadelphia. He worked as a teacher after graduating from Cheyney State College in Pennsylvania. After three years in the classroom he grew restless. He said he realized he was not cut out to work at a job where he had to be in the same place everyday.

Bradley quit teaching and took a temporary job at WCBS radio in New York. He worked hard and took chances, which put his career on the path to success. When he realized the assignment editor was only giving him minority stories to cover, he protested and asked for more variety. Because he spoke up, he was given more opportunities.

"If I had not done that then I never would have gone to Paris to work. I never would have gone to Vietnam or Cambodia to work. I never would have done CBS reports or covered the White House," he told Scholastic News Online. "I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you after 25 years of 60 Minutes. I refused to be pigeonholed."

Bradley's work has put him in danger. He was injured by shrapnel while covering the Vietnam War in Cambodia. The soldier who had been standing next to him just seconds before was killed. "He died and I was wounded," Bradley said. "That's scary."

Bradley was asked about his importance as a role model for minorities. "I recognize that to some people I am regarded as a role model, but that's not the way I look at me," said. He attributes his success in life to his upbringing. "I feel that if I live my life the way I was raised by the principles that were drilled into me by my family when I was little, then I can be a role model to African-Americans and everybody else."

Read the full
interview transcript

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Martin Luther King III
Martin Luther King III meets reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
(Photo: Ron Thomas/AP WIde World)
Martin Luther King III keeps his fathers legacy alive.
By Mariama Anderson-Dione
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

Martin Luther King III, the son of Martin Luther King Jr., visited Seattle on January 23. He delivered a speech titled "My Father's Dream, My Mission," to about 750 people. He also spent much of the day talking to students at Edmonds Community College.

The 48-year-old King is president of the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to his father's civil rights work.

"My father left all of us a blueprint," he said. "He provided a blueprint for all of us to embrace today, how we should live our lives."

King talked about solving problems through nonviolent actions just as his father did.

In his speech, he listed six steps to follow for problem solving:

1. Find the facts
2. Share the facts
3. Love your enemies, and don't retaliate.
4. Be honest with yourself, even if you're wrong and you fail.
5. Non-violent confrontation
6. Reconciliation for just and lasting peace

He said kids could use these same steps to deal with bullies.

The King Legacy

King was 10 when his father was assassinated in 1963. A year after his father died, his uncle, who was like a father to him, also died. Four years later, his grandmother died.

These were very sad and hard times for him and his family, he said. Young Martin and his siblings did not know how their mom would be able to support them. But they had faith and knew that they would survive, and they did, he told the crowd.

On January 30, a week after King gave this speech, on January 30, his mother, Coretta Scott King, died at the age of 78. She, too, had dedicated her life to civil rights work.

"My mom taught us to be strong. I was around positively charged people," King said in answer to a question from a young girl in the audience. She wanted to know how he had managed to stay focused after so much tragedy.

King focused most of his remarks on his father's legacy. Dr. King was a very important part of the civil rights movement. Today, he is famous for his work. His January 14 birthday is celebrated as a national holiday, thanks to Coretta Scott King, who lobbied the bill through Congress.

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The Children's Walk in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 2005.
The Children's Walk in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 2005.
(Photo: Lee Baier)
By Win Knowles and Jillian Bibbins
Scholastic Kids Press Corps

More than a thousand students marched on the Alabama state Capitol yesterday. They marched to honor Rosa Parks, who on December 1, 1955, refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus, sparking the modern civil rights movement.

In 1955, city buses in Montgomery were segregated. Blacks had to sit in a separate section of the bus and give up their seat if a white person wanted it. Rosa Parks refused to move because she was "sick and tired" of being treated as a second-class citizen.

After Parks was arrested, Montgomery's black citizens boycotted city buses, refusing to ride on them. The boycott ended 381 days later when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation on city buses is unconstitutional.

"The Children's Walk is a tribute to Rosa Parks's courage and bravery for standing up to segregation and putting an end to it," said Win Knowles, a seventh grader at Montgomery Academy, who marched in the parade. "Parks's bravery teaches kids to stand up for what we believe in and not to let anyone make you feel inferior."

Taylor Turner, a student at Montgomery Academy, also marched in the parade. "It's cool to be part of this event. It is one of the most important things to happen in Alabama." Shiz Ani, a sixth-grader at Baldwin Magnet School, told Scholastic News kid reporter Jillian Bibbins, "Rosa Parks was a person who changed the world."

The Children's Walk ended at the steps of the state Capitol. There civil rights leaders and student speakers urged young people to join the stsruggle for full equality. "Today, we must make a commitment to stand up for our rights by saying 'No, I will not accept what is not right,'" said Courtney Meadows, 12. "We must have enough determination to defeat segregation and racism. For we must not let history repeat itself."

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Rosa Parks speaks at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, January 15, 1969
Rosa Parks speaks at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, January 15, 1969.
(Photo: Joe Holloway Jr./AP Wide World)
By Ezra Billinkoff

October 26—Rosa Parks, who inspired a generation to fight for civil rights, died on Monday at age 92. Parks, a black woman, refused to give up her seat on a city bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama, nearly 50 years ago. She was arrested and fined for breaking the law.

In response to her arrest, black men and women in Montgomery boycotted, or refused to use, the city buses. They demanded an end to segregation, or laws that denied equal rights to black people. A young pastor at the local church named Martin Luther King Jr. led the boycott. Because of the protesters' refusal to ride the buses, the bus system nearly went out of business.

Many believe that Parks's bold decision triggered the civil rights movement, a struggle to grant Americans the same rights, regardless of their color. "She sat down in order that we might stand up," said civil rights leader Jesse Jackson yesterday. "Her imprisonment opened the doors for our long journey to freedom."

Parks's action showed how one person could make a big impact. She inspired others, including Martin Luther King Jr., to use nonviolence and civil disobedience as a way to protest problems in society.

After Montgomery

The Montgomery bus boycott lasted 381 days. Throughout those months, churches and homes in the black community were attacked. Despite threats to their lives, the community continued to refuse to ride the buses. In November 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed segregation on buses. After the court order arrived in Montgomery, blacks began riding the buses again, sitting wherever they pleased.

Following the boycott, Parks moved with her family to Detroit, Michigan. A newly elected member of the House of Representatives named John Conyers Jr. hired her as a staff assistant. She remained there until 1988, when she retired.

"There are very few people who can say their actions and conduct changed the face of the nation," said Conyers. "And Rosa Parks is one of those individuals."

On December 1, Montgomery will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Parks's stubbornness. Thousands of children from the area will participate in the Montgomery Children's Walk, beginning in the spot where Parks was arrested and ending at the state capitol.

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