As we make our way through February, we will celebrate spring approaching, our love we have for our Valentines, but most importantly, we will celebrate the rich history of the Black community. Black people have been defying the odds and contributing to our society since before our society even considered them human beings. Black people are some of the most resilient beings to ever face this struggle we call life. It is imperative that we celebrate and honor the strides they have made. Every year, I hear two questions; “Why do we have to celebrate Black History Month?” and “Why is Black History Month the shortest month of the year?”
To answer the latter question, there is a common misconception that Black History Month is celebrated in February so that we spend the least amount of time as possible focusing on Black accomplishments. The truth is that before there was a Black History Month, there was only a Negro History Week, which was created by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Fifty years later, it was extended into
Black History Month. February was chosen as the designated month because Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass both celebrate their birthdays during this month. Both of these men are important figures within the Black community because one ended the centuries-long injustice of slavery, and the other was an escaped slave who was one of the first Civil Rights Activists.
Now, why is Black History Month important? It’s simple. Think about when you sign up for classes at school. There are core classes, and there are electives. Ethnic Studies and African Studies are electives. They are not core pieces of the school curriculum. Black history, along with the histories of other non-European cultures, are not a central part of what is taught in school. Sure, we learn about the Civil Rights Movement and our awesome English teachers make it a point to choose works by diverse authors, but for the most part, history is taught from a Eurocentric perspective, and everything else is glossed over. Black people have done even more than march in Washington, D.C. and create hundreds of uses for peanuts. There are many more pioneers that also deserve to be recognized, and the same goes for various other groups. This is why we celebrate Women’s History Month, American Indian Heritage Month, Pride Month, Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month, and this month, we celebrate Black History.