Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” which was created in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson, a noted African American historian, scholar, educator, and publisher. It became a month-long celebration in 1976. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.      (

In school we learn about George Washington Carver and peanuts.  Living in North Carolina, every year the “Woolworth Sit-In” is celebrated.  I want to talk about the people that had and are still overcoming  epilepsy.  These people that are still proving that epilepsy doesn’t bring them down.

Growing up in the ’80’s and ’90’s, I loved listening to Prince.  Prince had seizures as growing up.  He outgrew them.  Again in the ’80’s and 90’s, Lethal Weapon was big. Danny Glover has had seizures since he was a child.  He has warning signs before he goes into the seizure.  He can ask for help if he thinks he needs it.  I’ve mentioned two people in entertainment.  Three former football players have epilepsy, Jason Snelling, Tiki and Ronde Barber.  We can’t forget the former coach of the University of Minnesota, Jerry Kill. (

Last but not least, Florence Griffith Joyner, “Flo Jo”.  I remember watching her carry our flag in the Olympics after she won gold and breaking theolympic record.  (the record still stands) Other than holding the record, she is known for her long fingernails.  Florence Joyner passed away in 1988.  The coroner couldn’t decide if there was any other reason for cause of death, but asphyxiation due to epilepsy.  (  Very few people know that epilepsy can kill you in your sleep.

These few people that I mentioned shouldn’t just be remembered in February.  Flo Jo fought and the others are still fighting epilepsy everyday!  There is 1 out of 26 people with epilepsy.  I’m sure you know 26 people.  Does one of them have epilepsy?