February is Black History Month, dedicated to saluting Americans of African-American descent who helped develop our nation in countless ways, including those recognized, unrecognized, and unrecorded.

In a recent proclamation, the California State Board of Education cited Black American history as reflecting the determined spirit of perseverance in black Americans’ struggle to equally share in the opportunities of a nation founded on the principles of freedom for all.

The state board’s proclamation also speaks of Black American citizens who have taken part in every U.S. effort to secure, protect, and maintain the essence and substance of American democracy.

The nation has recognized black history annually since 1926.

For more than 80 years, Black History Month has been celebrated in February because it is the birth month of two individuals who had a great influence on black Americans: Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln.

It is always a meaningful recognition.

California’s history and social science frameworks for public schools urge that the curriculum reflect the experiences of different racial, religious and ethnic groups.

Black History Month is a time to explore these issues even further, examining where we were as a country, how we have progressed, and where we need to go to live up to our principles of freedom and equality for all.

Our local schools always take part in this important effort.

Bill Cirone is Santa Barbara County superintendent of schools.