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Black History Month 2023 – Black Resistance

Student looks away from meal, surrounded by others in a cafeteria

This year the Association for the Study of African American Life and History chose “Black Resistance” as the theme for 2023. Throughout the course of our country’s history, African American/Black people have had to fight, protest, advocate, organize, and educate to resist ongoing systems of oppression from past to present.

Association for the Study of African American Life and History

“By resisting Black people have achieved triumphs, successes, and progress as seen in the end of chattel slavery, dismantling of Jim and Jane Crow segregation in the South, increased political representation at all levels of government, desegregation of educational institutions, the passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, the opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History in DC, and increased and diverse representation of Black experiences in media.” Association for the Study of African American Life and History

Black Resistance

Black resistance strategies have served as a model for every other social movement in the country, thus, the legacy and importance of these actions cannot be understated.

Salem-Keizer Public Schools

Geraldine Hammond

Geraldine Hammond was Salem-Keizer Public Schools first Black woman to lead a school in our district in 1976. She returns to Hammond, a school named after her, regularly to celebrate her birthday and her dedication to students.

Cynthia Richardson

Cynthia Richardson is another landmark leader in Salem-Keizer Public Schools. She was the first African American high school principal in our district. She has led at McKay High School and North High School. Cynthia currently serves our district as the Director of Student, Equity, Access and Advancement, where she dedicates her expertise to advocating for student equity and improving graduation rates for all students.

Willie Richardson

Willie Richardson was the first and only Black/African American person elected to our district’s school board. Willie was an advocate and pioneer for racial equality. She paved the way for Black/African American folks who moved to Salem and honored the history of the Black pioneers before her through her work with Oregon Black Pioneers.

Black Joy 

“Black joy is the heartbeat and pulse of our survival, our resiliency, our perseverance, our health and wellbeing.”

– Anita Dashiell-Sparks

Graduate smiles while receiving graduation stole.

Black History Month – 2023 Proclamation

At its February 14 meeting, the Salem-Keizer School Board voted to proclaim February 2023 at Black History Month across the district. 

In part the proclamation states: 

“Black Resistance is a positive force in history and in society and celebrates Black and African American persons and supporters who have shown courage and strength, from the pioneer abolitionists and freedom fighters in the 1800s, the individuals and families during the civil rights boycotts and marches in the 1950s and 60s, to the Black Power economic empowerment movements of the 1970s and social justice movements of the 21st century emphasizing that black lives do matter and demonstrates the power of unity.”

“2,000 students identify as Black and African American in Salem-Keizer Public Schools, and the district’s ongoing commitment to creating safe spaces inspires these students to be proud of who they are and to resist those who want them to be a fake or not stand in their truth of who they truly are.”