Jan. 27, 2016
Black History Month Is That Still Coming? Why? I'm Black But History is Everyday Not A Month
It's 2016 Black History Month was established by Dr. Carter G. Woodson as a motivating force for negroes at that period of time 1926 Negro History Week to ascertain and appreciate their role in the development of America. Just 61 years after the elimination of slavery still in the height of Jim Crow. Dr. Carter Woodson must have felt the burden of racism was pervasive on the American Negro in 1926. This recognition period between the birthdates of two leading figures of negro freedom Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln was to him a natural selection. American Negroes need to feel the pride of accomplishment and the recognition of negro service was necessary. To continue to support the study of American Negro studies Dr. Woodson founded the Negro History Bulletin in 1937. Throughout the lifetime Dr. Woodson's works revolved around negro historical enlightenment for he understood the power of consciousness as well as believe in self.
It was in 1969 on the campus of Kent State University that this celebratory Black History Month proposed which was celebrated the following year in 1970 at Kent State University. In 1976 the informal celebration of Black History Month was officially recognized by then President Gerald Ford. In conjunction with the celebration of America's Bicentennial was the establishment of Black History Month every February, a week had formally become a month. Now 40 years later in 2016, 90 years from the original Negro History Week we should ask ourselves has this celebration outlived it's effectiveness? Would Dr. Carter G. Woodson wanted to have this celebration still ongoing after almost a century? Oh, we need our children ingrained with the accomplishments of their ancestors that no doubt is evident in what this generation of learners know about black historical imprints on American history. Yet, has the fact that we allowed our history to be condensed into month of celebrations created a not intentionally a minimization of blacks historically in this country? I for one understood the desire of Dr. Carter G. Woodson in 1926 calling for schools throughout the nation to instruct negro children about their ancestors historical significance. This was a time when absolutely no negro children were given knowledge to negro historical valor. I also understand the shift in 1969 at Kent State University for black undergraduates to demand that the Negro History Week become Black History Month. The call at that time on college campuses across the country was a demand for recognition of rights and it was the period where revolution was the flavor of the day. Funny, it seems that 15 months after calling for the Black History Month recognition by black students at Kent State University. That same university on May 4 of 1970 was the scene of four Kent State University students being murdered by National Guard on that Ohio campus. Who of us from that period can forget the poignant words of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young four dead in OHIO.
Do we as Black Americans need to be motivated to secure knowledge of the accomplishments of our ancestors? Do we as Black Americans need assurances that White Americans will want to seek the knowledge of Black American historical accomplishments? Can the treatment of Black Americans we treated outside the limits of a specific month? Have Black Americans forgotten the historical relevance that initiated both Negro History Week and Black History Month in the first place? Personally, I think the time has come for blacks to put Black History Month on the shelf because it simply hasn't got the juice it once had to move unconscious people to levels of consciousness. Blacks shouldn't be demanding a month for recognition of service due any longer. Blacks should issue that each day of a child's instructional path details the full and true accounting of the American Story. If that isn't being done simply because schools know that February is the black month than all of America white and black, red and brown are being shortchanged.
1933 Carter G Woodson Miseducation of the Negro:
"When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his "proper place" and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary."
Sylvester Stone 1970
In the end you'll still be you
One that's done all the things you set out to do
There's a cross for you to bear
Things to go through if you're going anywhere
For the things you know are right
It's the truth that the truth makes them so uptight
Its time for Black America and all America to understand by placing limitations on when we get knowledge or seemingly perceiving what is acceptable in sharing or gaining knowledge. We allow those want us in the darkness of ignorance want our people's too stay put. We must take the energies that endeavored Carter G. Woodson to create the week along with the energies of those young students agitating for change on college campuses in the 1970's. Now merge with knowledge a new demand to take a real stand, a real stand for inclusive everyday learning that will allow our children to understand why that stand was necessary.