Do not forget about us
Time and time again, I hear the question, “Why do we still celebrate black history month?” I find that interesting because Black History is so critical to the development of America as we see it today. Some do not seem to know the importance of Black History to American History. I believe it is because we are not taught the importance of Black History and what makes Black History Month so important. Originally it was not even a month, but only a week. In 1926, Carter G. Woodson, also known as the Father of Black History, founded Negro Week in the month of February. He chose to hold Negro Week in February because it holds the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, who were committed to the abolishment of slavery. Woodson spent his life preserving the history of African Americans until his death in 1950. Sadly, he was not able to live to see the extension of Negro Week to Black History Month established in 1969.
Black History should not just be limited to just one month of the whole year. We should be learning about Black History throughout the whole year. Personally, the majority of what I know about Black History is from personal curiosity. We are not taught about Black Historians in schools unless it is in college and we take a class dedicated to African American History, where we sought after the class ourselves. We are not taught about amazing people such as Garrett Morgan, the man who created the gas mask, or Dr. Patricia E. Bath, who made major advancements in the realm of eye surgery, once treating issues such as glaucoma. These are just two of the many heroes who we do not hear about.
On January 21, also known as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Black History Month Committee of the ALANA Network hosted a walk-through of Black History and showing of the movie, “Selma”. We also showed history that dated back to the 1960s to present day that included MLK Jr., Ruby Bridges, Rodney King and more. One important piece of Black History that many students did not know was the LA Riots that occurred in 1992, which shows that there is a lot of Black History that is brushed under the rug. Many have the perception that these events happened a lifetime ago, but Ruby Bridges is only 64 years old, which is the age of some of our parents and grandparents.
It is our duty as tomorrow’s leaders to educate others that Black History is not just considered Black History, but as American History.
Gemaers Dorvil, a senior, studies Math. He is a staff writer for Le Provocateur.