Feb 09 , 2019
If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.”
Carter G Woodson, looked at the state of American culture and realized that the black man and woman still had no legal and profound way to celebrate their heritage. As a scholar and thorough research student of African American History, he saw the void of information and the one-sided rendition of history being taught in America. With the help of several friends, the first ‘Negro History Week’ was established in 1926. A week later it became ‘Negro History Month’, then finally ‘Black History Month’ as we know it today.
Every Year, we are given twenty-eight days in school and elsewhere to learn about a history that has effectively been hidden from the masses. For the most part, schools stick to the same rhetoric. “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great man who tried to unite people in a nonviolent way. Harriet Tubman freed many slaves using the Underground Railroad.” And of course, there’s Rosa Parks who had just come from a long day’s work and didn’t want to have to give up her seat on the bus for a white man to sit down. Thereby, the bus boycott was born in the South. And if you are a literary enthusiast, you might have even heard the names Langston Hughes or Zora Neale Hurston.
As extraordinary as these individuals were, there are so many other lesser known figures that shaped African American History. There are countless people that gave their lives to make sure their ancestors not only had the ability to sit where they pleased on public transit when they were tired or drink out of water fountains when they were thirsty. But that they could also have access to education and better lives. They wanted their ancestors to walk down the street and not be verbally or physically abused because of the color of their skin. These people shaped the very foundation of American History.
Black History isn’t just a month to me, it is every day and a necessity. I am raising my children to be mindful of their history and of their proud of their heritage. Especially in a time where history seems to be repeating itself. I like my ancestors understand the importance of education and knowledge. Once we understand and accept our past, only then can we move on into the future.
I challenge everyone to use this month as a platform to immerse yourself in the education of the struggles, hardships, joys, achievements, and contributions of the African American community. We can no longer gloss over Black History with the mindset that it is only relevant to one set of people because Black history is in fact AMERICAN HISTORY