Flint, MI– The Flint City Council unanimously approved a resolution recognizing February as Black History Month in Flint.
During the regular council meeting on Feb. 28, Councilwoman Ladel Lewis presented the resolution she had worked with the city’s legal department to produce.
The resolution recognizes the origins of the month, Flint’s majority Black population, and the history of perseverance and contributions of African Americans in Flint.
“Whereas, Trailblazer, historian and educator Carter G. Woodson first initiated recognizing the vast contributions of African American as a week long celebration in 1926,” the resolution states. “And whereas 50 years later, in 1976, the United States of America officially commemorated the achievements and accomplishments of Black Americans by recognizing February as Black History Month.”
The resolution cites 2020 census data which “confirms that 54% of Flint’s population identify as African American, making it the single largest group of residents.”
“The city of Flint recognizes that African Americans come from a long lineage of ancestors who persevered against all odds,” the resolution states. “And whereas, in spite of facing challenging obstacles, Black people have substantially contributed to the economic, cultural, spiritual, and political landscapes in the city, county, state, country, as well as globally.”
Councilwoman Tonya Burns thanked Lewis for creating this resolution, and said that for her, “every day is Black history.”
“For me it is every day I celebrate Black history, because before they see and know my name, they understand and see me as a female Black woman, and that does not change,” Burns said.
Councilwoman Eva Worthing said as a social studies teacher, she’d been teaching her sixth graders about Black history all month.
“We celebrated STEM stars, science, technology, engineering, and math. We highlighted those that don’t normally get recognized,” she said. “We listened to Motown music, which some students had never heard before, and it’s one of my personal favorites. I felt it was the best Black History Month I’ve ever celebrated with my students.”
Councilman Quincy Murphy said while he supported the resolution, he wanted to see actual action and reinvestment come into Flint’s majority Black community.
“So I support a resolution to declare February is Black History, but we got to do a deeper dive, y’all. We have to look at the real root of the problem. … Show me some results, not just me declaring February as a Black History Month,” Murphy said. “I understand where we came from, but where are we going?”
Replying to Murphy, Council President Eric Mays said the council had the power to do some of that work for their community.
“The history behind us, if we talk the talk and walk the walk, we got $94 million,” Mays said referring to the American Rescue Plan Act funds the city is receiving. “Let’s see what we can do in the present and in the future to allocate some of that money to Black folks, white folks, young folks, old folks and poor folks.”