Americans have recognized black history annually since 1962; first as “Negro History Week” and today as “Black History Month.”
The celebration of Black History Month is credited to the efforts of Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marked the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population – Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
“Black History is an accumulations of all the joys, pains, and sorrows that we as a people have gone through,” Dr. Michael K. Mast, government instructor, said. “It reminds us that much struggle has gone forth to get the nation where we are today.”
Mast went on to say that Black History is a way to remember the past and look towards the future.
“These men were soldiers; they fought for black men to be included into the military,” Mast said. He remembers Martin Luther King and John Kennedy for their special roles in the Civil
Rights movement. “Obama may have a bigger affect than Dr. King,” Mast said.
Others who have impacted the growth of black history DuBois and important civil rights leader and co-founder of the NAACP, Feb.3, 1868 the15th amendment was passed, grantingdisabled father. Dr. Gonzales graduated high school in Houston with his school having a graduation rate of 1 percent and no textbooks available to the students.
The Pell Grant made it possible for him to go to Texas A&M and eventually go to medical school.
“I would have not been able to afford college and ultimately go to medical school to become a physician without the Pell Grant that I was awarded,” Dr.Gonzales said.
The Pell Grant helps students achieve a higher education who usually come from a family income of less than $20,000.
Joe Plante, a chemical engineer of 25 years from North Carolina, grew up in a low-income family. Once his father passed away, the Pell Grant helped him continue his college career.
“I am one out of 10 children and my father had passed away. We were not wealthy growing up. The Pell Grant was what really gave me a hope of having a future in college. The grant has truly helped me to achieve my goals and give back to the community,” Plante said.
Although several students throughout the country are successful in college with the Pell Grant, there are a few exceptions. Some students consider the grants as “free money” and drop their classes once the award is received.
“With any financial help that is given, I think there needs to be oversight of how this money is spent,” Plante said. “These students should feel an obligation to succeed with the Pell Grant. I am all for students using the money to try to get ahead and achieve their goals, but when they just think of it as government money they need to realize that it is the tax payers money, so that really upsets me that this money could be going to waste.”
Despite the few students who take this money for granted, there will always be people who will be eternally grateful for what the Pell Grant has done.
“For somebody like me that comes from a low-income family, the grant really provided me with the money that I needed to attend school,” Dr. Gonzales said.
“Now with the education that has been given to me, my children would not even qualify for the Pell Grant, and I believe that is the purpose of the grant, to allow people to make a better life for their children.”