Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Black History Month Wrap Up

I didn't have any intention on writing a post on Black History month. Personally I have spent a lot of time learning about the contributions of African Americans primarily because I was raised in the midwest, and it's not a very diverse environment. As a result, the educational curriculum was not multifarious. In order for me to learn that the world is full of all kinds of people, who have made contributions to mankind, I had to seek out this information for myself.

I remember studying US history in high school. Exactly eleven pages were dedicated to "Contributions of African Americans in History" The text covered slavery thru current events. It wasn't until I was an adult that I knew that blacks sat in Congress in the 1800's! Here is a link to some of that information for anyone who is interested African Americans In the United States Congress In fact, the other history requirements for graduation were Western Civilization (The history of European based countries) and Non Western Civilization (The history of the entire rest of the world).

My life experience always led me to support the observation of Black History month. It was essential in order for me to obtain knowledge, and develop an understanding of my race. Additionally, I figured if I don't know these things, other races and cultures had limited information as well.

If I may, I'd like to share some quick interesting facts that I have learned over the years, about why Black History Month was established:
Carter G. Woodson, the son of a former slave started Black History week. He was too poor to go to school, so he taught himself basic high school education. Eventually, he became the second African American to earn his Ph.D. After attending a celebration that marked the 50th anniversary of slavery's abolition, he was inspired. He and 4 other individuals created the Association for the Study of Negro Life History (ASNLH). They began a publication The Journal of Negro History, because most textbooks ignored the history and achievements of black people. In 1926 He promoted the idea of Negro History Week. February was the designated month in honor of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas's birthdays. In 1976 it was expanded to a month long observation. President Gerald Ford encouraged all to engage in Black History Month. In 1978 President Jimmy Carter with the government's support assigned February the official month to celebrate and honor he achievements of African Americans.

I appreciate the reasons why Black History Month was created. It was a necessity in this country at the time. At one point, I held the belief that sharing information about black's contribution to our county would help combat racsim. I no longer hold this belief. Racism is rooted in hatred and intolerance. Black history facts may make others less ignorant to our contributions, but it won't make a hateful person more peaceful.

My opinion of Black History Month is evolving. Black history is American history. I think it's time to integrate this information into everyday learning. In fact, education should be more well rounded and inclusive in it's acknowledgment of various races, ethnicities, and even the sexes. It's happening slowly. My children bring home reading assignments that are much more eclectic than any curriculum assigned to me. However, until the day comes where ALL Americans are represented in history, literature, art, music etc.... I will gladly and proudly celebrate Black History Month.

No comments:

Post a Comment