Black History Month is an annual event honoring the many vital contributions of Black Americans, something the TMX Finance® Family of Companies is proud to celebrate. What started as “Negro History Week” in 1926, observed on the second week in February to honor Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays, has turned into a month-long devotion to celebrating Black Americans.
We honor diversity through celebrating the heritage and traditions of our Team Members. In turn, we leverage cultural holidays like Black History Month to inspire Team Members to learn more about history, themselves, and their Team Members. We have worked to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where the insights and perspectives of teams can be heard and used to move the Company forward.
To honor the history of this month, we connected with some of our Black and African American workforce on their favorite Black History facts and figures and the impact they made in their lives.
Nearest Green– “The story of Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey started with an emancipated man, Nathan ‘Nearest’ Green, who taught Jack Daniels everything he needed to know about distilling whiskey. In recent years, descendants of Nearest Green debuted their own ‘Uncle Nearest 1865 Premium Whiskey’ to add to his legacy.” Kelley Frazier, General Manager
Claudette Colvin– “Claudette Colvin was the first person to refuse to move to the back of the bus on March 2, 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks, and she was just 15 when it happened. This showed me that it’s not about your age, it’s about standing against injustice and standing up for, or in her case sitting for, what you believe in. This is something I teach my kids and anyone willing to listen! It was the NAACP who thought Rosa Parks would be a better face of the movement, but we never forget Claudette Colvin.” Ted Newman, General Manager
Henrietta Lacks– “Henrietta Lacks saved millions of lives. She died from cancer at Johns Hopkins. They collected samples of her cells without her consent, passing it on to Dr. Otto Gey. Her cells reproduced when normal cells would have died off. These cells helped develop the polio vaccine and thousands more, but her family was never compensated or recognized for this great contribution. It is important to me for people to know how we have contributed to all areas of comfort in this world.” Kendall Wheeler, General Manager
Booker T. Washington– “Booker T. Washington was born into slavery, but later became the founder of my HBCU [Historically Black Colleges & Universities], Tuskegee University. To know that you can literally start at the bottom in society’s eyes and still accomplish so much is a mind-blowing feat.” Micheal Petty, General Manager
Shirley Chisholm– “Chisholm served as the first Black congresswoman in 1968 and later ran as the Democratic nominee for the presidential race in 1972. My favorite quote from her is, ‘If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.’ And she demonstrated that mentality in everything she did.” Heather Sueirro, Senior Talent Strategy Manager
Other influential figures recommended by our TMX Family include the first Black president of the United States, Barack Obama; American politician and voting rights activist, Stacey Abrams; professional boxer and activist Muhammad Ali; Pulitzer Prize-winning author Maya Angelou; and civil rights activist and representative Rev. John Lewis.
Join us in learning more about Black History and how to celebrate this rich heritage in our Black History Month series.
Thoughts and opinions listed here were collected from members of our Black and African American workforce at the TMX Finance® Family of Companies. The thoughts expressed in this article are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the TMX Finance® Family of Companies.