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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — It’s a rich tradition across the country, the observance of African American history during the month of February. The city of Springfield began its annual observance of Black History Month this Saturday.
“Dr. Ruth B. Loving walked this event to city hall 28 years ago,” said Springfield Chief of Staff, Denise Jordan.
The year was 1986. Three years before that, the then 68-year-old Dr. Ruth B. Loving noticed the flag draped over a vendor’s table at a convention in Washington, DC.
“What’s that flag? Who does it belong to? It’s got black, it must be black. I yelled over the railing and said; who’s country’s flag is that? He says, yours,” said Dr. Loving.
On Saturday, the 99-year-old civil rights activist celebrated that discovery once again and helped raised the flag outside SpringfieldCity Hall.
“The two men who did this were just plain boys, who grew up and went to war. And when they came back they wanted to wave along with the American flag, not by themselves,” recalled Dr. Loving.
Dozens of dignitaries, community members and Job Corp students joined Dr. Loving at City Hall to kick off Black History Month. They sang and shared stories about their history.
This is the 28th year that the flag has been raised in the city of Springfield and each color has a different meaning. Black is to represent pride in pigmentation to the race. Red is remind us of the rich blood black men have shed for freedom, equality and justice. And gold represents intellect, prosperity and peace.
Springfield State Representative Benjamin Swan, himself a pioneer in the civil rights movement, hopes the celebration will drive young people to look into their history.
“A desire to learn more, to challenge the comments that they heard today, that’s how it’s carried on. And then when they learn it, they can tell the story as well,” said Rep. Swan.
The flag will be flown during the entire month of February.