February 4, 2021
Nearly 100 years ago, the son of former slaves created what would become Black History Month. Carter Godwin Woodson’s path began as he dropped out of school to help support his family as a coal miner in West Virginia, only to later earn a PhD from Harvard University and become a dean at Howard University. He believed that bigotry can only be overcome when people understand history. As Woodson launched his focus on black history, he said he sought to tell the story of "the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice."
At a time when we struggle with our nation's history, we should all take Woodson's mission to heart. The history of black men and women in America is crucial to our understanding of each other, of our country and of our future. There is much that America does not know about itself. That, for example, A. Phillip Randolph not only founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the first predominantly black union, but that his fight for justice eventually led to the desegregation of our nation's armed services and defense industries. Or, that 70 years ago the United Packing House Workers launched a fight against systemic racism in meat packing plants and in the communities where workers lived. Or, of course, that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. died standing up for striking sanitation workers. Black history is American history and continues to be written to this day, by Black Lives Matter activists, by predominantly Africa-American workers for Amazon fighting for a union in Alabama, by the 44th President of the United States and by our current Vice President.
At Ullico, we are committed at our core to equality and diversity. It is the very foundation of our company and of the union movement. As we strive to be more inclusive, we must also continue to examine and learn from our company's history, just as we do from our nation's history.
Throughout Black History Month we will be sharing resources to help all of us more accurately understand our history because, as the adage that we have all heard says, "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it."
EDWARD M. SMITH
President & CEO