Today marks the first day of Black History Month.
1929: Negro History Week. The original celebration and awareness of black history in America. Due to the falling of Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday (the 12th) and Frederick Douglass’s (the 14th), Negro History week was officially claimed. Gaining immediate popularity, it prompted further education of black history in the United states.
1976: It only took 47 years and the civil rights movement before the week was upgraded to a month purely dedicated to the education of African American history. The shortest month of the year, February quickly became a controversial month. With Valentines day overshadowing the education of a history that’s been systematically erased, the month became a phenomenal source of education for African American history.
But of course,crituques were immediate and imminent and still resonate today:
It’s Racist. Why isn’t there a white history month, right?
You shouldn’t need an entire month to learn about black history.
Why focus on black history, black history is american history too!
The reason race is still a problem is because it’s being talked about and brought up constantly with things like black history month.
But if all races matter why do blacks need one for themselves?
You can’t reduce an entire history to just one month.
The critiques go on.
The fact of the matter is that; African American history has been reduced to George Washington Carver, Slavery, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., and now, Barack Obama.
But black history is more than just names and a movement.
It’s the collection of thoughts, struggles, and culture that have shaped our society today.
The reason why black history awareness increased from a week to a month is the realization that nobody knew or really understood the history of African Americans, and how they’ve contributed to this country, their struggles and triumphs, and the victories they’ve contributed to this country.
In reality, Black History Month is subjective to what people want to believe. Whether it’s that racism doesn’t exsist, or that slavery is a thing of the past and doesn’t need to be studied, or that the month as a whole doesn’t matter, are all opinions. But the minute you start invalidating Black History while being uneducated is the minute you’ve subjected yourself to the perils of a society that’s protected you from the real history they’ve erased from the textbooks. Out of oppression, shame, and guilt.
The Black History Month challenge is comprised of a new fact everyday. You find new fact for each day of February, and post it. The reason it’s a challenge is because of the few pure sources of African American history able to be found.
I challenge each and every one of you to partake in this challenge: find a new fact everyday. Post it, share it, and tag #bhmchallenge. Education is the only cure for ignorance and hate.
Fight hate with education, and someday we will reach equality.
Featured Image: Flickr