To all the critics and advocates,
Black history month is still important and it is still relevant if for no other reason than its potential.
If no other time, people will use this time of the year to celebrate and learn. I know from personal experience how one newly learned fact can spark a magnificent change.
So here’s my story:
Once upon a time,
During Black History Month 2016, a college senior named Sidney randomly thought to herself how little she knew about black history. She ventured to take a moment of her time to look up one new fact about black history. That one fact lead to another, and another, and another, and ANOTHER ONE *DJ Khaled voice*
Discovering one fact at a time lead her to majoring in African American studies. Her history was so enticing that she was willing to add an extra year of coursework in her last semester of college.
Along with her course work, she read vigorously in the pursuit of her own knowledge, coming to believe that what was covered in school only scratched the surface as it pertained to any subject matter.
Learning about her past, the struggles and triumphs of her ancestors gave Sidney a connection and respect to her forbears that she’d never felt before. She began to see each black man and woman as connected, as sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers. She felt for the first time a responsibility to her fellow woman and man.
Sidney still reads her history vigorously and even started a blog dedicated to black history and the black experience. She hopes to bring light to unknown people and eras of black history and inspire others to seek this same knowledge.
Her story continues.
Now this may not be everyone’s story but it is a testament to the potential of this very special month. No outcome is too small. If it is as simple as one fact the whole month, one fact a week or a day, one book or film that centers around the black experience or our history then it is my belief that it has served its purpose.
So yes, I believe in its potential and I respect the struggle that was waged for its establishment. And on that note let me give you a brief history while you’re here.
“Black History Month was originally “Negro History Week” created by Carter G. Woodson, the second African American to receive a PhD from Harvard. Carter G. Woodson and prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland’s Association for the Study of Negro Life and History sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
Information provided by History.com
So yes! Black History is everyday, ALL DAY, 24/7, 365! But this doesn’t negate the greatness that is February as a celebratory month for our history.