MADISON, WI –Representative Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison) released the following statement as she kicked off Black History Month with a tour of the Milton House Museum and a roundtable discussion with the Milton City Government and Milton School District:
“Each February, we celebrate Black Americans’ countless contributions throughout our nation’s history. We acknowledge the historical injustices faced by our community and recognize the strength of Black Americans who have fought hard for their freedoms in the face of constant adversity. During Black History Month, we honor our community members for their work on social justice, which has contributed to the empowerment of Black Americans.
“We often fail to realize how close we are to historical sites where remarkable events in the timeline of Black justice and liberation occurred. Today, I was honored to visit the Milton House Museum, a national historic site and Underground Railroad Station in Milton, Wisconsin. The Underground Railroad’s historical significance cannot be overstated; during a time when Black individuals were dehumanized and subject to enslavement, a brave network of people formed and aided in the liberation of an estimated 100,000 freedom-seekers.
“At the Milton House, a site that once hosted legendary abolitionist Sojourner Truth, I was able to pass through the same spaces that once hid people as they fled slavery. It is impossible to fully capture in words the profound feeling of occupying a site that was partially responsible for the freedom of so many Black individuals. I am grateful to have had this opportunity, and I urge all Wisconsinites to do the same in their efforts to understand our state’s role in historical Black liberation projects. Black liberation is born out of love for our people, communities, and culture. It is a deep desire to exist liberated in a social world that so often devalues and rejects us and is marked by the strength and resilience of every generation that came before us and fought hard for the liberties we now enjoy.
“We must dedicate this month to Black history and take this time to advance our knowledge, but also remember that the contributions of Black Americans are with us year-round. It is an ongoing effort to protect the rights and liberties of every American. We must always make an effort to know our nation’s troublesome history and legacy of racism and remind ourselves never to shy away from the hard truths of the present as well as the past. At the end of the tour, I needed to share a moment of silence to fully reflect on and debrief my feelings about some of those hard truths before I was able to move forward again.”