A Special Message from President Allen Edson – February 2022
Carter G. Woodson known as the “father of black history”, created Negro History week in 1926 to celebrate the birthdays of Fredrick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. Woodson saw African American contributions “overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.” The Black United Students and Black educators at Kent State University expanded this idea to include an entire month beginning February 1, 1970. Since 1976 every US President has designated February as Black History Month. Woodson the author of the Classic, “The Mis-Education of the Negro” published in 1933, wrote “If a race has no history”, “if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated”.
In Celebration of Black History Month, I will share the stories of John Wright and Dr. Edna L. Griffin, leaders of the Pasadena Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and their contributions to the City of Pasadena.
John Wright, a postal worker founded the Pasadena Branch of the NAACP, after meeting with a group of progressive African American in Pasadena that came together to discuss “life and pertinent questions concerning the race here in Pasadena”. The Branch was Chartered on September 8, 1919, the 16th Branch in the US.
Dr, Edna L. Griffin, was Pasadena’s the first Black female physician. Dr. Griffin was also a key community leader She was the first black woman President of the NAACP Pasadena Branch. Dr. Griffin chose Pasadena as her home after reading a travel magazine that quoted Pasadena as the “Noblest City in America”.
Dr. Griffin launched a legal battle in 1939 to desegregate the Brookside Plunge. The case was finally won in 1945 and the pool was made accessible to everyone in 1947. The Branch under her leadership succeeded in getting the first black policeman, firemen and census enumerator employed.
Carter G. Woodson said “a thinking man, however, learns to deal with conditions as he finds them rather than to take orders from someone who knows nothing about is status and cares less”.
John Wright and Dr. Edna L. Griffin both exhibited these qualities as thinking men and women. Let’s remember them this Black History Month.
Peace Be Upon You!