The History of Black History Month
Since the year 1970, February has been the month to commemorate black voices, stories, history, and prominent figures. In September of 1915, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History was created by Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland. Woodson was a prominent historian who was known as the “Father of Black History.” He dedicated the majority of his studies to African-American history and the positive contributions this group made for America and its overall development. In America’s earlier years, which were rampant with slavery, Black people were degraded and looked down upon. Even though they built much of the world’s institutions and economy, their contributions were not acknowledged because they were seen as subhuman. Woodson was a pioneer in that he challenged these views and negative stereotypes of Black people and genuinely recognized all of their beneficial actions. The association that he and Moorland created began to sponsor a “Negro History Week” in 1926, which would eventually grow to become Black History Month due to urgings by civil rights activists and the increasing recognition of the importance of Black individuals.
Today, many people question the necessity of Black History Month, which is clear neglect of present society. A seeming continuation from earlier times, Black individuals today are overlooked and subject to negative stereotypes. We cannot just forget what happened in history, especially since it still has implications in our modern society. We cannot just forget what happened in history, especially since Black individuals are continuing to be dehumanized and treated unequally in the hands of our so-called justice system. Through Black History Month, we can become more aware of the importance of Black citizens and Black history. It is a month of empowerment and representation for the marginalized. It is a time to reflect on the struggles of Black ancestors. Through recognizing history, we can prevent the past from repeating itself.
What happens during Black History Month? The events that occurred during the original “Negro History Week” are very similar to those of today’s Black History Month events. These include local celebrations, performances, and lectures. Many of these events have been canceled due to the pandemic, but this has not hindered the celebration. Accommodations have been made so that we can celebrate virtually, I will leave the links to these celebrations down below. Additionally, during this month it is extremely important to show the Black community that you are an ally and with them in the fight against racism. Thus, along with learning about Black History, you can advocate on behalf of the Black History movement through sharing posts on social media and educating those who do not know the history and importance behind this month.
America was built on slavery and the effects of this are still being felt by the Black community today through the justice system and all of the institutions it incorporates. Despite the positive impact Black people have made on America, they continue to be disregarded, underrepresented, and acknowledged with negative stereotypes. The first and most crucial step we can take in reversing this inequality is educating ourselves. We must educate ourselves on Black History and the true evils behind it. None of it can be/should be sugar-coated. It does not matter what race you are, Black History affects us all. As Edmund Burke once said, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Thank you for reading.
Where/how to celebrate virtually: https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/02/us/black-history-month-2021-celebrate-virtually-trnd-iyw/index.html