“All humans have descended from Adam and Eve...There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, or of a non-Arab over an Arab, and no superiority of a white person over a black person or of a black person over a white person, except on the basis of personal piety and righteousness.”
- Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in his farewell sermon (the last public speech he gave).
Black History Month is an annual celebration that started in the US in 1926. It was conceived by historian Carter G Woodson who proposed marking a time to honour African Americans and raise awareness of Black history. The month of February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln, the US president who issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and Frederick Douglas, an African American orator, social reformer, writer and abolitionist. The month acknowledges the achievements of African people not only in America but throughout the African diaspora. (taken from AlJazeera's article: Black History Month: What is it and why is it celebrated).
23% of American Muslims are of African heritage*. Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali are a few of the many notable African figures in Islamic history. Bilal (RA) - The Mu'adhin (Caller to Prayer) was a beloved companion of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and of African heritage. In the seerah, Abyssinia (modern-day Ethiopia) was an important place of refuge for the nascent Muslim community.
Why include Nelson Mandela? Although Nelson Mandela was not a known Muslim, his autobiography is a highly recommended read. During his time in prison, there were Muslims in jail too, Muslims who had struggled against apartheid and Mandela was inspired by their tenacity.