Wizards Black History Month presented by Amtrak

Black History Month is a remembrance of important people and events in African-American history that has been celebrated annually in the United States in February since 1976.

The remembrance has its roots in 1926 by United States historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson chose the second week of February because it marked the birthdays of two Americans who greatly influenced the lives and social condition of African Americans: former President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass.

The Wizards and Amtrak are proud to honor the great and countless contributions of African-Americans. In addition to events taking place out in the community the Wizards will produce video remembrances featuring current and former Wizards players and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Vice Chairman Dr. Shelia Johnson that will be shown at each of the seven Wizards home games this February.

Watch the latest video above and be sure to check back here throughout February for more.

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Black History Month Fact of the Day

Feb. 1 Black History Month originated in 1926 by Carter Godwin Woodson as Negro History Week. The month of February was chosen in honor of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, who were both born in that month.
Feb. 2 Muhammad Ali (1942 – ) the self–proclaimed "greatest [boxer] of all time" was originally named after his father, who was named after the 19th century abolitionist and politician Cassius Marcellus Clay.
Feb. 3 Jesse Ernest Wilkins Jr. (1923 – ), a physicist, mathematician and an engineer, earned a PhD. in mathematics at age 19 from the University of Chicago in 1942.
Feb. 4 Lewis Howard Latimer (1848 – 1928) drafted patent drawings for Alexander Graham Bell's telephone, while working at a patent law firm. He also patented an improved way to produce carbon filaments for light bulbs.
Feb. 5 Jack Johnson (1878 – 1946), the first African–American heavyweight champion, patented a wrench in 1922.
Feb. 6 Isaac Murphy (1861 – 1896), a great thoroughbred jockey, was the first to win three Derbies and the only jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks, and the Clark Handicap within the same year.
Feb. 7 According to the American Community Survey, in 2005 there were 2.4 million black military veterans in the United States -the highest of any minority group.
Feb. 8 Wally Amos "Famous Amos" (1936 – ) creator of the Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, was a talent agent at the William Morris Agency where he worked with the likes of The Supremes, Simon & Garfunkel, and various child stars. He founded his cookie company in 1975 with a recipe from his aunt.
Feb. 9 George Monroe and William Robinson are thought to be the first black Pony Express riders. At one point Monroe was also a stagecoach driver for President Ulysses S. Grant and would navigate through the curving Wanona Trail in the Yosemite Valley. Monroe Meadows in Yosemite National Park is named for George Monroe.
Feb. 10 Nancy Green (1834 – 1923) a former slave, was employed in 1893 to promote the Aunt Jemima brand by demonstrating the pancake mix at expositions and fairs. She was a popular attraction because of her friendly personality, great story-telling, and warmth. Green signed a lifetime contract with the pancake company and her image was used for packaging and billboards.
Feb. 11 Ray Charles Robinson (1930 – 2004) a musical genius and pioneer in blending gospel and the blues shortened his name to just Ray Charles to prevent confusion with the great boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. Ray Charles began going blind at an early age and was completely blind by the time he was 7 years old, but has never relied upon a cane, or a guide dog. He was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural ceremony in 1986.
Feb. 12 Walker Smith Jr. (1921 – 1989) became known as Sugar Ray Robinson he borrowed his friend Ray Robinson's Amateur Athletic Union card and became the Golden Glove Lightweight champion in 1940 under the borrowed name. Smith's boxing style was described as "sweet as sugar" and the name Sugar Ray Robinson stuck. Considered the greatest boxer of all time, Robinson held the world welterweight title from 1946 to 1951 and was middleweight champion five times between 1951 and 1960 –the first boxer in history to win a divisional world championship five times.
Feb. 13 Cathay Williams (1842 – ) was the first and only known female Buffalo Soldier. She was born into slavery and worked for the Union army during the Civil War. She posed as a man and enlisted as Williams Cathay in the 38th infantry in 1866.
Feb. 14 Track and Field star, Jesse Owens (1913 - 1980) broke many records at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, including becoming the first athlete to win four gold medals in one Olympiad.
Feb. 15 Music composer and producer, Quincy Jones is the most Grammy-nominated artist in the history of the awards with 76 nominations and 26 awards.
Feb. 16 Golfer, Tiger Woods (1975 - ) is the youngest person and the first African-American to win the Masters Tournament in 1997 and by a record breaking lead of 12 strokes.
Feb. 17 Wilt Chamberlain (1936 - 1999) was the first basketball player to score 100 points in a single game during the 1961 season and the first player in the NBA to score 30,000 points.
Feb. 18 Henry ("Hank") Aaron (1934 - ) broke Babe Ruth's home run record when he hit his 715th home run in 1974. He set a Major League record with 755 home runs in his career.
Feb. 19 Michael Johnson (1967 - ) a sprinter often billed as "the fastest man in the world" has won five Olympic gold medals, broken numerous world records including his own, and was the first man to win both the 200m and 400m races within the same Olympic game (1996).
Feb. 20 Wilma Rudolph (1940 -1994) a record breaking track star was born the 20th of 22 children, and stricken with polio as a child. She not only overcame polio but broke world records in three Olympic track events and was the first American woman to win three gold medals at the Olympics (1960).
Feb. 21 Florence Griffith-Joyner "Flo Jo" (1959 -1998) a runner known for her stylish flair on the track, set the world record for the 100 and 200 meter dash at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, Korea.
Feb. 22 In 1966 Andrew Brimmer is appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to become the first African American governor of the Federal Reserve Board.
Feb. 23 Also in 1966 J.C. Watts became the first African American politician to respond to a state of the union address.
Feb. 24 The 1st stamp of Sojourner Truth was issued by the U.S. Postal Service in 1986.
Feb. 25 President Barack Obama became the first African American to be named President of the Harvard Law Review in 1990.
Feb. 26 In 1950 African American Singer Natalie Cole was born. Natalie Cole, daughter of legendary singer Nat King Cole, has won Grammys for New Artist of the Year and Best R&B Female Vocalist.
Feb. 27 In 1909 the National Association for The Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded by 60 black and white citizens. The NAACP is the nation’s largest and strongest civil rights organization and strives to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of minority group citizens of the United States and eliminate prejudice.
Feb. 28 African Americans DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince won the first rap Grammy in 1989 for their hit single "Parents Just Don’t Understand."