Teens honor Black History achievements


The auditorium of the Glen Cove High School buzzed with anticipation, as students, faculty, and community members gathered to pay tribute to the rich heritage and enduring legacy of African Americans. Allen Hudson, the high school’s principal, a proud 1991 graduate and the first African American to hold the position, delivered a stirring address in honor of Black History Month.
“This month is not just a time to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of African Americans,” Hudson said. “It is a time to celebrate the rich cultural heritage and the monumental contributions Black individuals have made to society. “
Drawing from the annals of Glen Cove’s own history, Hudson recounted the remarkable achievements of local luminaries. Dr. Chester Pierce, a distinguished Harvard graduate and senior consultant for Sesame Street, emerged as a beacon of inspiration. His contributions to education and mental health advocacy left an indelible mark on society, underscoring the transformative power of knowledge and compassion.
Similarly, William Joe Johnson, a member of the legendary Tuskegee fighter group, epitomized courage and valor. Raised on the streets of Glen Cove, he defied the odds to become a decorated war hero and a catalyst for change in his community. As president of the Housing and Urban Development, his tireless efforts paved the way for affordable housing initiatives that transformed countless lives.
In 1915, in response to the lack of information on the accomplishments of Black people available to the public, historian Carter G. Woodson co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. In 1926, the group declared the second week of February as “Negro History Week” to recognize the contributions of African Americans to U.S. history. Few people studied Black history and it wasn’t included in textbooks prior to the creation of Negro History Week.

President Gerald Ford’s endorsement in 1975, and subsequent presidential proclamations, notably by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, solidified the national recognition of Black History Month. The designation of February as a time to honor Black Americans coincides with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, emblematic figures in the African American struggle for freedom and equality.
Among the accolades and achievements, Hudson reminded listeners of the challenges and struggles that still loomed large. He spoke of the need to confront injustice and inequality head-on, and to ensure that the promise of equality and opportunity extended to all.
“Our legacy is rich with stories of resilience, innovation and leadership,” Hudson said. “African Americans have played a crucial role in every sphere of life, from the arts to the sciences, politics to sports, and as a first African American principal of Glen Cove High School, I am a testament to our progress as a community and as a nation.”