fra,e 3By: Erika Schauer
National African American History Month was created in 1976 to celebrate achievements by African Americans and as a time to think about the role African Americans played in shaping the United States. It was originally the second week of February because it marked the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The creation of African American History Month was met with enthusiastic response with the creation of black history clubs, increased awareness among educators, and interest from progressive whites. This month is also celebrated in other countries including Canada and the United Kingdom.
A famous African American from the Madison area was George Poage. He was a very iconic and distinguished man who was a 1903 graduate of UW-Madison and the first African American graduate of his LaCrosse High School. He was known as an admirable person both on and off the field and had great respect from fellow teammates. His career peaked at the 3rd Olympic games in St. Louis when he received bronze in 220 yard and 440 yard hurdles making him the first African American to win a metal in the Olympic games. After his Olympic days, Poage went on to teach at a segregated Sumner High School as head of the English Department and became very involved in the athletic department.
Another famous African American who had ties to the Madison area is Justice Louis Butler. Butler attended UW-Madison to receive his law degree and graduated in 1977. He was the first African American to serve on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Showing his pride of UW-Madison, he had lunch with minority students who were currently in law school. Butler served from 2004-2008.