I suppose that Black History Month traditionally celebrates the achievements of African-Americans and milestones in American history, but today I thought I would put the spotlight an important person on the World history stage.
Today marks the anniversary of Nelson Mandela's release from prison. On this day in 1990, Mandela was released after 27 years in prison for "sabatoge and conspiracy." The son of a Thembu chief in South Africa, Mandela began his life-long campaign against white colonial rule while he was a college student. Mandela was dedicated to nonviolence in his attempts to end apartheid in South Africa. He became a leader in the African National Congress and was arrested and imprisoned by South Africa's ruling minority in 1962. During his 27 years in prison, Mandela continued his fight for a democratic and free society, and ultimately was released and elected president of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela is one of my personal heros. There is a quote of his that is one I always come back to and try to live my life according to: "There is no passion to be found playing small, in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
If you are interested in finding out more about this great man, there are two books that I would recommend. Obviously, "Long Walk to Freedom," his autobiography, is a must read. For middle school/junior high and even high school students, I recommend "Mandela: the rebel who led his nation to freedom" by Ann Kramer. This book, published by National Geographic, is part of their World History Biographies series and is an excellent introduction to Mandela. (The series rates high on my list if you are looking for biographies for junior high students...I highly recommend all of them)!