On the occasion of Black History Month, we reflect on those who came before us who wrote pages and chapters in the history of America and in particular African American culture.
In 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson started Negro History Week, and in 1975, it was recognized by President Gerald Ford. It became a month in 1986 when Congress passed it into law. But here in Philadelphia, we've lost a lot of those living legends last year. When we think about the Honorable Gussie Clark, when we think about Lana Felton-Ghee who passed away, names like Congressman Bill Gray, E. Steven Collins, and Dr. Lomax, to name a few.
So what we've tried to do each year since 2008 is recognize the living legends in our community who are continuing to write those pages, to create those chapters in Philadelphia African American culture and history and to, in a small way, the body of Council say thank you.
So with that, names like former Mayor John Street, former President of City Council; names like Ethel Barnett; names like Commissioner Sylvester Johnson; labor leaders like Sam Staten, Jr., a legacy, a second generation in labor; names like Jerry Wyatt Mondesire, to name a few; Joyce Batchelor, an advocate for children for over 25 years. And with that, we want to let them know that we recognize their contributions, that we care deeply about what they do and what they have done for all of us.
And without further adieu, as part of commemoration of Black History Month, today we honor and celebrate Philadelphia's living legends: John Street, Ethel Barnett, Sylvester Johnson, Joyce Batchelor, Sam Staten, Jr., Doris Smith, Jerry Mondesire, Trudy Haynes, and Della Clark. The panel before you demonstrates exemplary leadership in the areas of government, public safety, social justice, civil rights, labor relations, journalism, community activism, and business leadership; and