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Celebrate the Silent Heroes of Black History Month


Crystal Ward is a former principal from Kansas City, Mo. She now works with 10 urban and rural school districts in eight states to expand NMSI’s proven College Readiness Program.

My parents instilled in me the importance of acknowledging and reflecting on black history all year long. Because of that, I grew up with a strong awareness of African Americans’ many contributions.

This month-long celebration is an opportunity to challenge ourselves and others to reflect on how African Americans have helped shape our country and to learn from their experiences. Black History Month ignites hope for future generations to believe that they can achieve greatness and receive well-earned recognition.

It’s also a time to celebrate African American culture and to show pride in who we are. It is a time to look closely at a history that’s often overlooked.

The lives and impacts of Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are well known, but fewer of us know people like Katherine Johnson. We should celebrate Johnson, a trajectory analyst for NASA in the early 1960s, with the same gusto which with we recognize King, Parks, Douglas and other African American pioneers.

I like to think of Johnson and many others as silent heroes - people whose legacy can be seen in everything we do, but often don’t get the recognition they deserve.

I am proud that NMSI helps ensure that all students have access to the best educational opportunities our schools have to offer. I challenge our partner schools to help their students reflect on how African Americans have shaped our country. More importantly, I challenge everyone to ask the question, how can we continue to move the needle so that more silent heroes can walk in their destiny and no longer be silent? 

February is Black History Month. Throughout the month, our employees and partners will be reflecting on what this month means to them. 



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