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CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY IS NECESSARY CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY IS NECESSARY

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CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY IS NECESSARY

Posted on Wed, Feb 3, 2010

BLACK HISTORY MONTH

CELEBRATING BLACK HISTORY IS NECESSARY

Black History Month doesn’t seem that popular among the African-American communities, over the years many have cited the name as a slight, thanks to the shorter length of the month. Others have been outspoken about how Black History needs to be recognized throughout the year, not just in February.  Now that an African American man is in the White House people seem to be asking more than ever whether or not it’s necessary to continue Black History Month Activities.

When Carter G. Woodson began Negro History Week in 1926, he chose the second week of February to encompass the birth dates of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Its purpose then was to teach some and remind others that the history of black people in America was not simply the story of suppression. Woodson recognized that, shell-shocked from slavery and demoralized by Jim Crow, Black Americans had to build a vision that would give them the confidence to partake in the fruits of freedom. We have a wonderful history behind us, if we’re unable to demonstrate to the world, that we have this record. The world will say to us, you are not worthy to enjoy the blessings of democracy or anything else.

Woodson’s aim was also to refute the inaccurate and insulting stereotyping that African-Americans, aren’t as intelligent as other races and are more prone to criminality. And sadly, nearly 100 years and a civil-rights movement later, too many people still believe that.

Black History Month is culturally relevant, yet there are still so many negative portrayals of black people in our culture, we can’t just spend all 28 days talking about the nice ones. We have many  issues that need to be fully covered and understood the other 337 days of the year, such as failing inner-city public schools, our youth, our senior citizens the foundation of our history, poverty, employment, and health care.

Black History is American History!  Black History Month is a measure of how fully or accurately our story is being told and a reminder of the work yet to be done. When Black History Month returns to Carter G. Woodson’s vision, then it will be working toward a noble and patriotic goal.

How would you like to see Black History Month recognized? Is it all about more programming on television? Should we use the month to highlight the needs of our community or to spotlight individuals both past and present who exemplifies the best, the black race has to offer? Should the month be used for galvanizing behind Black causes? Or should the black community put an end to Black History Month and fight for Black Issues and Black History to be a bigger part of the whole year?

Until next month, stay safe and healthy!
Valerie