To many people February is just the second month of the year. Or if you like college basketball like me, it’s the last month of the regular season and opens the door to March Madness. However, February is the month of the year where our country, and others, have now taken the time to celebrate the history of black men and women.
The history behind America recognizing February as Black History month is not as simple as one might think. Nevertheless, it is primarily due to our nation not making any effort to promote positive factual teaching in public schools about the black community to African-American students. In the 1920’s a man named Carter Woodson thought to set aside a few weeks in February to encourage the teaching of the history of American blacks in public schools.
Though Carter Woodson died in 1950, his dream was still alive. As it literally took around 50 years from when he proposed Negro History Week to be recognized on a national level. This happened in 1976 when President Gerald Ford recognized Black History month on a national level and it was celebrated in educational institutions. This is a great example of patience, and how sometimes it takes a while for our thoughts and dreams to become reality.
If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated. The American Indian left no continuous record. He did not appreciate the value of tradition; and where is he today? The Hebrew keenly appreciated the value of tradition, as is attested by the Bible itself. In spite of worldwide persecution, therefore, he is a great factor in our civilization.Carter Woodson, “Negro History Week” (1926)
So, in 2019… what does Black History month mean to me?
I would say it means 3 things.
- Makes me Read – As I normally don’t read about African-American history. This month helps to make me more aware of what I don’t know about my race. Which is actually a good thing. As I will take time to read, watch a documentary, or study things about Black history in America. As there are so many untold stories of people fighting for equality and for the chance to be respected as equal.
- Be Appreciative – A lot of people are now growing up in a society where racists are more politically correct and are less likely to state their real feelings in public. This is good and bad. Nevertheless, seeing the history of our race, the good and bad, helps to make me appreciate the opportunities that I have. And, makes me want to work harder.
- Helps Society Better Understand What it Means to be Black – In the age of technology which we are in, people all over are subject to false information and lies. So many people have literally no idea of what it means to be black in America. This month at least helps people to recognize various inequalities that African-Americans have faced and constantly face in America.
You can’t see your future unless you know your past.