Black History Month: February Celebration Has Roots in Missouri

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JEFFERSON CITY - Most faculty at Lincoln University know a thing or two about Lorenzo Greene. He taught at Lincoln for decades and was influential in making Black History Month an annual celebration each February.

Greene was born in Connecticut and into a family that had immigrated to the United States as slaves. He was first generation free and first generation educated.

A teaching position brought him to Missouri where he was a faculty member at Lincoln until his retirement.

Greene was instrumental in making Black History a part of American culture and curriculum in schools across the nation.

He was offered a job to start up a Black History Program at Harvard but turned it down to stay at Lincoln.

Greene acted as mentor to many students, including Gary Kremer, Director of the Missouri State Historical Society.

It was through Greene that Kremer became inspired to pursure history as a career.

According to Debra Greene, History Department Chair at Lincoln University, Greene made an impact on a whole generation of students.

"Whenever you go somewhere and you say you're in the history department at Lincoln, and you meet a person of a certain age, they say, 'Well I went to Lincoln. Did you know Doctor Greene?' He was tough but he was good'."