Black History Month
I loved February growing up because I got to learn about Black men and women of the past, and then present, that did great things for the world. Granted I didn’t fully understand why it was so important to teach little kids like me about Black or Negro hstory, but I lcouldn’t learn enough. One of the first books I can remember being given was a book about Black inventors. During Feburary my church/daycare focused heavily on Black men and women who championed the fight for Civil Rights and creating a better tomorrow for me and people like me. It wasn’t until my college days and FAMU that I realized just how beneficial that foundation was. But one thing I struggled with at one point was the length of Black History Month and what it was really meant for.
See I used to look at Black History Month as a time for Black people to be given the spotlight. February was our time to shine and celebrate being Black and beautiful while the rest of the world watched in awe and wonder. Then I realized something, February is the shortest AND usually the coldest month of the year. How dare they restrict us to a short, frigid 28 or 29 days? I was real deal upset because not once had I really looked into the WHY of Black History Month. It all started as a week in February to include the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln *inserts sigh and eye roll*, first observed in 1926. With overwhelming support Negro History Week took off. It expanded to an entire month in 1976, fifty years after the first observation of Negro History Week. It was then that I realized no one GAVE us anything, our ancestors FOUGHT FOR their importance, contributions and accomplishments to be recognized for A WEEK that expanded to a month after their perseverance and dedication. Shortest month or not, the overall observation of the month is another testament to our greatness and success. It was a major epiphany that empowered me but killed my love for the month as well.
A new problem was birthed from a pivotal epiphany. I lost my love for Black History Month because I felt it limited our celebration to one month. I saw it as a hinderance and not a help or an asset. We celebrate accomplishments that took place throughout time in one month and dassit. What about the rest of the year? Are we only Black during February? What are we during the rest of the year? It’s obvious that we are Black all year, so why not celebrate Black History all year? My new campaign was to eliminate Black History Month and demand Black History be taught and celebrated all year. At the time I felt it was such a valiant cause, but now I cringe at the thought of it. While I would love to see my peoples’ hostory be appreciated and taught in truth and fairness, I could only imagine how terribly it would be trampled upon and convoluted even more by those entrusted to teach who really don’t care to learn it. My target was right, but my approach was way off.
See I was looking at Black History Month the wrong way, I saw it as a time for us when it was a time for us to give to others. It all started as a set time to educate the ignorant on all that we were BEFORE enslavement and all we have accomplished in America since emancipation. Why should we hand over OUR opportunity to properly school the fools of the world? Look at what’s been done with World History and American History, it’s riddled with lies, half truths and biases throughout. No ma’am and no sir, I’m completely content and satified with Black History Month being a responsibility of Black people ONLY. As we learn throughtout the year, we build the newest curriculum for the upcoming Black History month. While we should take every opportunity to educate our own, Black History Month gives us the control we need to dispel the misconceptions and replace myths with fact.
So I say all of this to say, my Brothers and Sisters Black History Month is our time to teach the world about who we are, what we’ve come from and what we’ve overcome. It is a time for others to focus on us and learn how greatly we have impacted the world they know. Take this time to educate other son why we are 365 Black and proud to be so. Each one teach one and let’s impact our communities with knowledge and light.
Happy Black History Month!!!