BLOG: Celebrating Black History Month in Pennsylvania SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf By: Obie Kernodle, Deputy Chief of Staff February 03, 2016 Equality, The Blog February marks the nationwide celebration of Black History Month in the United States. The national theme for this year’s observance of Black History Month is “Hallowed Grounds: Sites of African American Memories.”The origins of Black History Month began in 1926, when Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History established “Negro History Week.”We have much to celebrate in African American history in the ninety years that have passed since that inaugural year.The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is home to nearly 1.5 million African Americans currently and, throughout history, many have played significant roles in Pennsylvania’s economic, cultural, spiritual, and political development.For example, did you know that Bayard Rustin, a national civil rights advocate and associate of Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Pennsylvania native? As was Richard Allen, the founder of the first national black church in the United States (who is being honored on a postage stamp, unveiled yesterday), and Guion Bluford, an astronaut who in 1983 became the first African American who visited outer space.Pennsylvania was home to some of the best baseball players and teams prior to integration including the Hilldale Club, Homestead Grays, Pittsburgh Crawfords, Harrisburg Giants, and Philadelphia Pythians – one of the earliest baseball clubs in the country.Other acclaimed Pennsylvanians include athletes like Wilt Chamberlain, Joe Frazier, Reggie Jackson, Tony Dorsett, Lenny Moore, and Ernie Davis; entertainers like Kevin Hart, The Roots, Will Smith, and Patti LaBelle; and Oscar-winning director Lee Daniels.These men and women have shaped the history of our state and our nation, and they join the other millions of African American Pennsylvanians who have worked tirelessly to maintain and promote their culture and history.Many African American historical firsts happened in Pennsylvania. In 1787, prominent religious leaders Richard Allen and Absalom Jones organized the Free African Society, one of the first black mutual aid societies anywhere, the Philadelphia Colored Female Free Produce Society boycotted products produced by slave labor and exerted economic pressure on slave states, and, in 1838, William Whipper founded The National Reformer, the first black newspaper in the state.African Americans in Pennsylvania have served as conductors on the Underground Railroad, fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, and worked in the shipyards in Philadelphia, the coal and steel industries in Steelton and Pittsburgh, and the railroad industry in Erie and Harrisburg.The Commonwealth is proud to honor the history and contributions of African Americans in our state and throughout the nation.The Wolf Administration is encouraging all Pennsylvanians to celebrate this important observance and to continue to work toward the goal of liberty and justice for all.
MASON CITY — The head of the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health is spending his last week on the job after more than three decades working for the county.Ron Osterholm started working for Cerro Gordo County in 1988 as an environmental health specialist and was named director of the county’s health department in 1990.Osterholm says the department has been grown from not existing in 1990 to what it is today. “I submitted a proposal to the Board of Health and the Board of Supervisors. At that time, Tom Wishman the Human Resources and Finance Director, said that we probably needed to look at how we could consolidate the fragmentation of public health and health programs and bring them under unified public health. They thought it was a good idea, it was money saving. In 1990, the Board of Health and Board of Supervisors approved a process to move forward with the Health Department. We started in the basement of the courthouse with environmental services in 1988, and we grew out of the basement and then moved into Mohawk Square.”Osterholm applauds the work his staff does for the county. “This has been a great career for me. I’ve really enjoyed being in this position and being able to do the things that have been done. At the same time, there’s a lot of good staff that exists here in the Health Department, and when you start looking at the staff that’s in this department, they’re pretty high qualified staff and they’re good at what they do. The department’s going to do quite well. When you have a very strong staff it makes sustainability so much better. It’s going to be in good hands.”Osterholm made his comments during today’s “Ask the Mayor” program on AM-1300 KGLO. You can listen back to the program via the audio player below.