Officially designated by President Gerald Ford in 1976, Black History Month has been an opportunity to celebrate achievements by African Americans and a time to recognize the significant role that Black people have had in the history of the United States. Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875 – 1950), distinguished Black historian, author, and scholar, conceived of Black History Month as a way for Black people to be proud of their heritage, and for other Americans to understand and engage with this important historical material.
The 2021 Black History Month theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” exploring the African diaspora and the spread of Black families across the United States. In this context, we would like to share the story of Clara Körner, a Black woman who had an immeasurable yet often overlooked impact on the lives of the Körner family. As she lived through enslavement, the Civil War, and Reconstruction, Clara’s experience spanned a period of intense upheaval and change in America that can tell us much about our shared past and future.