Fennemore Proudly Celebrates Black History Month

Black History Month pays homage to the achievements of African Americans and their crucial roles in U.S. history. The celebration was started by Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard Historian and other prominent African Americans. What was originally a week-long event outgrew that time frame and in 1976 developed into the month-long celebration it is now.

This year’s theme is Black Resistance. Black men and women throughout history have stood up for their rights. Many times, this means challenging unjust laws and calling attention to the change we need in our country that wouldn’t have happen without the action of preeminent Black historical figures.

As we celebrate Black History Month, we look to some key historical figures and consider the impact they have had on our country, the law and, history.

A Salute to Some Prominent Black Historical Figures

In the late 1800s, lynching took the lives of thousands of men and women throughout the U.S. A mob lynched three friends of Ida B. Wells in 1892, and she decided then that she would campaign against it. This campaigned exposed the practice of lynching in the South and called out the Jim Crow Laws.

When students of color in the U.S. struggled for equal rights to education, Charles H. Houston fought the “separate but equal” doctrine and actively worked toward the Supreme Court ruling to outlaw segregation in schools.

In 1923, Houston earned his J.D. at Harvard law and served as the first Black student on the editorial board of the Harvard Law Review. This education allowed him to fight against racial oppression and change the course of education for countless students of color by giving them the right to an equal education.

An internationally celebrated athlete, Jesse Owens, resisted international racial oppression during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. At this time, the Nazi Regime was advocating for the Aryan race, and Owens showed strength for black communities around the world by winning four gold medals that year.

Lastly, Constance Baker Motley was the first African American woman to become a federal judge in 1966. She earned her law degree from Columbia University in 1946, but prior to that she was interested in the law and worked on the Legal Defense and Educational Fund for the NAACP.

During her time as a lawyer, Motley won nine civil rights victories during the civil rights movement which included James Meredith’s right to admittance at University of Mississippi. And when she wasn’t fighting for civil rights, she fought for political positions in New York.

Motley resisted against unjust legal rulings and fought for justice for all Americans.

Ways to Celebrate

Resources across the nation put together celebrations for Black History Month. The National Museum of African American History and Culture provides a list of virtual celebrations for people to partake in throughout the month. This includes poetry workshops and events for kids to learn more about their favorite Black movie and T.V. Characters.

To learn more about their events visit this website: Upcoming Events | National Museum of African American History and Culture (si.edu)


Black History Month serves as a time for our country to celebrate the Black historical figures who have deeply impacted our country, but also to consider what it took to get here. The fights from Wells, Houston, Owens, and Motley called for justice, a core principal in law.

One of Fennemore’s central commitments strategies is a strong belief in creating diversity and inclusion on all levels. Our attorneys and allied legal professionals across the nation work with our Diversity and Inclusion Counsel to create an inclusive law firm that upholds respect for each other and our unique backgrounds.

For more information, please visit: Diversity and Inclusion – Fennemore (fennemorelaw.com)

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