Allen’s resolution recognizes 10 historical figures as well as members of the Stockbridge-Munsee band of Mohican Indians.
Six of the 10 historical figures recognized in the resolution are white Wisconsinites who were abolitionists or helped free slaves: Lyman Goodnow, Dr. Edward Galusha Dyer, Sherman Booth, Eliza Chappell Porter, Joseph Goodrich and Colonel William Utley. Others honored are Black slaves.
In an interview, Allen said he authored the resolution in part to help more Wisconsinites, especially those who are white, become engaged in Black History Month. He said he’s passionate about Black History and wants to be part of the conversation.
“People look at Black History Month and diminish the importance of it,” Allen said. “When we say that it has nothing to do with us, as European Americans, and that we should not be involved in Black History Month and the celebration of Black History Month, we’re missing the larger point.”
In a memo Allen circulated seeking support for his resolution, he said it’s important to recognize Black history “in a way that raises the prominence of that part of our mutual history so that it is the center of our attention.”
Black History Month has traditionally served to honor the central role of African-Americans in U.S. History and the accomplishments of African-Americans, so Allen’s resolution honoring white Americans is atypical.
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