Celebrating Black History Month: Misty Copeland

Every day of the year should be celebrated when it comes to African American history and accomplishments. The Month of February, being Black History Month, is just one time of the year in which African American success is most celebrated. There are so many African American heroes who have made our American history. All the way from Harriet Tubman to Martin Luther King, each individual has made an incredible impact on the African-American community and on the world as a whole. Misty Copeland deserves celebration this and every month.

At the age of thirteen Misty Copeland started her dance career. From taking her first ballet class on a basketball court at the Boys & Girls Club to becoming American Ballet Theatre’s first African American female principal dancer, Misty Copeland has shown young women of color that with determination, perseverance and the right guidance anything is possible. 

Misty Copeland, in 2015, became the first African American woman to be promoted to principal dancer in the 75-year history of the American Ballet Theatre. She had joined the studio company of American Ballet Theatre, and became a soloist, and starred in productions like “The Nutcracker.” 

She became an international star, performing on Broadway in “On the Town,” Copeland was later named by Time as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Copeland has been recognized for many of her achievements. In 2013, she won the Young, Gifted, and Black honor at The Black Girls Rock! Awards. Copeland also received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hartford in November 2014 for her contributions to classical ballet and helping to diversify the art.

Copeland’s role in the American Ballet Theatre inspires young girls, especially of color, to find power in their uniqueness, fight for their dreams, and ultimately anyone can be great.

In an interview with WCCO Misty explained that her family often lived in and out of motels. Some days they didn’t even have food to eat. But Copeland persevered, using her gifts in the art of dance to overcome poverty and hardship. 

She also talks about her passion to give back to the community and how important she believes that to be. 

“I want people to remember me for helping and giving back to my community in some way,” she said. “It’s about us helping each other. It’s about me using my art form to make someone happy or change their life for the better. That is what dance did for me. So in the end, I think giving is what’s most important.”