reflecting on black history month

Visit the Carter G. Woodson Institute

The Copper Sun recently sparked an interesting and lively discussion about Black History Month called “The Utility of Black History Month.” His original post included a quote from M-1 denigrating the month and ended questioning the importance and limitations of Black History Month.

In my response, I reflected on the limitations I perceive in the implementation of Black History Month. This is part of my comment:

it either becomes about romanticizing, mourning, or dreaming…but, what about really understanding our history and cultures and working to make a change? as a public school teacher, i’ve found that this separation results in whole generations not knowing anything about ‘black history’ other than notable civil rights figures…there’s no connection made of ‘blacks’ (american or others) to the sciences, literature, math, government, etc. clearly, the only meaningful, scientific, and/or civilized contributions to these disciplines have only come from caucasians and asians. it’s really like being beaten…or ignored…all year, then hugged all month and expected to go out and leap mountains. it’s actually kinda schizophrenic.

When I spoke with a friend (who agreed with me) about it, she mentioned something about the current U.S. President making strides to change BHM to “African-American History Month.” So, I looked into it and it’s almost like he saw my comment coming and wanted to make sure that he proved my point. He’s been referring to February as AAHM for the past few years! When Dr. Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week, which became BHM, the most basic of his goals was to, as Howard professor says, “vindicat[e] the black race from the charge of inferiority and restor[e] Africans and peoples of African descent to their proper place in the annals of history.” (Shouts to Sis. Mothyna for the recent BHM facebook blast)

So, I’m not necessarily anti-BHM month. I’m more concerned with us having real intention behind our BHM observances AND working from that perspective and intention throughout the year.

Recommended: Dr. Woodson’s most influential and visionary text The Mis-Education of the Negro.

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~ by Anayah on February 23, 2008.

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