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Minnesota PRSA talks Black History with members
By Minnesota PRSA Admin
Posted: 2023-02-06T20:16:36Z

In honor of Black History Month, Minnesota PRSA asked some of its members what the observance means to them. First up is Iris Cumberbatch, PhD. She is Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs at ECMC Group.


What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month is an opportunity to learn, recall and reflect on the many contributions of Africans and African Americans to world history and US history. Black people have had significant impact on the social, political and economic structures of the US and the world. Black History Month – along with every day and month of every year – offers each of us the chance to better understand those impacts. At its core, Black History Month is the embodiment of the words of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the scholar whose dedication to celebrating the historic contributions of Black people led to the establishment of Negro History Week in 1926 (the forerunner of Black History Month, which was established in 1976): “For me, education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.”


Who is someone you admire from Black history and why? 

As a professional communicator who was educated and trained as a journalist, I deeply admire Ida B. Wells-Barnett, a prominent journalist, activist and researcher born into slavery who dedicated her professional career to exposing lynching, battling mob violence and supporting women’s rights and civil rights despite constant threats to her life. Her statement that ”the way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them” is as timely and profound today as when she wrote them. In 2020, Ida B. Wells-Barnett was awarded a Pulitzer Prize posthumously "for her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching.” I am forever inspired by her unwavering commitment to the truth and the power of the written word to shine a light in pursuit of justice.

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