Wide receiver Andre Johnson thinks Black History Month is an important time to reflect upon and learn about what his ancestors went through.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The Texans are celebrating Black History Month. In 1926, Negro History Week was launched by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, an historian and educator. He chose the second week of February to celebrate the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In the 1960s, it became Black History Month.
With their offseason in full swing, the Texans players are scattered across the country doing their part to stay in shape for 2010, relax and catch up on personal time with friends and family. Many also are reflecting on the meaning and importance of Black History Month, and appreciate the time to recognize the past.
"There are a lot of important and very key facts that a lot of people don't know that deal with black history, so it's just important that we celebrate that and get the full history of our country," Pro Bowl linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "It means a lot to be able to celebrate that, but I think it should be not just a month thing, it should be just tied in with the history. I don't feel like we have a separate black history. I feel like all history should be tied together."
Wide receiver Andre Johnson also thinks February is a special time of reflection on the struggles that African Americans have endured, and he enjoys learning about his heritage.
"I think it's very important," the four-time Pro Bowler said. "I think Black History Month speaks about what black people have been through in the early days, the things that happened. I think that we as black people need to learn about that, know what our ancestors and great-, great-grandmothers and grandfathers have been through."
Fellow receiver and Lane College graduate Jacoby Jones, the only Texans player from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), echoes Johnson's appreciation for some notable figures in both our Nation's, as well as Black history.
"You've got to give respect," Jones said. "You've got to give respect on certain days, and you got to give respect to some of the people that were so key for us, like Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, to name a few."
Ryans hopes that some of those historical giants can play a big role in the current daily lives of black youth.
"They can see that certain people invented this or they made this, they were the first person to do this or do that," Ryans said. "They can aspire to be great at something. They can achieve anything by saying that the foundation has been laid where others have been and already taken some big steps for black Americans, and they can do the same thing."
Johnson, who has cracked the 1,500-yard mark in receiving each of the past two seasons, always keeps youngsters in the back of his mind when he's on the field or out in public, and is conscious of trying to be a good example.
"You never know who's watching you," Johnson said. "Everything you do, you just try to do the right thing. Nobody's perfect. You just try to do the right thing and you never know what kid or who is really watching you. You'd be surprised at what some kids come up and tell you."