Over my 36 years of life, I have had to defend and protect my blackness. I have fought against biases, microaggressions, and blatant racism. My blackness despite all of its glory is seen as a threat, and an imposition. For some of you; reading about my truths might make you uncomfortable. However, I encourage you to continue reading and gain some insight into the importance of Black History Month.
The Origins of Black History Month
Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration that comes from the teaching of biography and history.
Carter G. Woodson
Historian and Founder of Black History Month
Carter G. Woodson is the pioneer of Black History Month. In February 1929 Mr. Woodson created Negro History Week to ensure school-aged children were exposed to Black History. February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Fredrick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. Carter G. Woodson valued education and was the second African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard. Mr. Woodson was trying to prove to White Americans that Black Americans had played a crucial role in developing the United States. And therefore deserved to be treated as equal citizens.
Dive Deeper Discussion
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Negro History Week continued gaining popularity and growing over the next 30 years. The African American community as well as Caucasians and other racial communities embraced the acknowledgment of black achievement and success. Negro History Week evolved into what is now Black History Month. Many public conversations have discussed whether or not Black History Month is necessary. As an African American woman, I understand and know the importance of heritage months.
Why Black History Month?
When there are groups of people who are marginalized it is important to raise awareness of the inequalities. Black and Brown communities have been and remain marginalized groups. Knowing the past is a path to doing better in the future. Heritage Months are a way to encourage, educate, and empower. Black History Month amplifies the contributions of African Americans. It honors all Black individuals from all periods of U.S. history, from the enslaved people first brought over from Africa in the early 17th century to African Americans living in the United States today.
“I am my ancestor’s wildest dreams” Unknown
Ways to Celebrate Black History Month
- Learn about Black History Month: Use the links above as a starting point to learn more about African American History. Knowledge is a bridge that can lead to understanding, empathy, and change.
- Read Black literature: Read books written by Black authors, including nonfiction, fantasy, and poetry.
- Watch Black Cinema: Watch videos by Black creators or films centered on Black actors or cultural experiences.
- Watch Documentaries: Documentaries can be a great source of information about Black history. Black History Month is a dedicated time to pay attention to the power and resilience of the Black community. While Black excellence deserves to be celebrated every day, it’s important to seek out stories and histories that often go overlooked
- Support Black businesses and nonprofits: Support Black-owned businesses and influential Black-led nonprofits. You can also be intentional with your donations.
- Listen to podcasts: Listen to podcasts about race, such as “1619,” “Code Switch,” and “The Diversity Gap”
- Attend events: Attend local events, lectures, and exhibitions. You can also join a discussion or volunteer at a local organization.
Celebrate Black History Month 2023
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