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Black History Month "The Ultimate Debate"

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Should black history month exist? Is having an entire month dedicated to one race appropriate? This has been an ongoing debate for many years. Many non-blacks (and blacks alike) believe that this month creates separation while others just shun the observance month due to lack of knowledge and understanding. It is not uncommon to hear a person complain:"Why don't other races have an entire month dedicated to them?" Some of these questions would be answered quickly if our education system   actually invested the time and energy to teach others about the initial intent behind black history month. 

Black History Month is a National Observance Month dedicated to remembering the important people and the events that occurred through the communities around the world, specifically those of African descent. The United States and Canada dedicate February for the cause, while the United Kingdom acknowledges black History month in October. In 1926, Dr. George Carter Woodson (one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate from Harvard) collaborated with the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, to create and dedicate the second week of February as "Negro History Week." The significance of the second week was based upon the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. Because education was lacking, Woodson's  dream was to eventually be able to make "Black History Month" recognized as American history. Woodson also wrote a popular book called  "The Mis-Education of the Negro" which presented "the thesis that African Americans of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught in American Schools (Amazon, CLICK HERE!)."

"The differentness of races, moreover, is no evidence of superiority or inferiority. This merely indicates that each race has certain gifts which the others do not possess. It is by the development of these gifts that every race must justify it's right to exist." -Dr. George Carter Woodson

"And thus goes segregation which is the most far-reaching development in the history of the Negro since the enslavement of the race (Dr. George Carter Woodson)."


Shortly after, Negro History Week exploded and became an interest to many educators, including Caucasians. Eventually, mayors around the country were declaring this as a National Observance Week. Kent State University was the first to celebrate black history as a month in 1970. This sparked  the Federal Government to acknowledge black history as a month instead of a week. In 1976, Negro History Week officially became Black History Month. Since that time this significant moment of American history became recognized by the U.S. Government. At this time Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States, encouraged others to "seize the opportunity to honor the too often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." Canada acknowledged black History month in 1995, United Kingdom in 1987.

The creation of Black History Month was initially intended to educated blacks with high hopes in blending it into American history. This is indicated in many of  George Carter Woodson's historical quotes, books and teachings. Maybe if most of us, black, white, red, yellow or green, would recognize the original intention of Black History Month, it would free up some of the racial tension. However, the biggest problem that many black advocates have is that the one month that is dedicated to the importance of black history is generally ONLY acknowledged one month out of the year, during a time frame in which many organizations and educators seemingly do not spend enough time educating people on the reality of Black History Month and what it stands for. During the remaining 11 months, many advocates feel that people are not taught about black history. If in fact this information holds true, then how do we learn to incorporate black history into American history, without it getting lost within the confinements of all of our other historical moments? Perhaps if education was taught in the appropriate manner, most people would grasp that a historical moment such as black history is actually a celebration for everyone. At the end of the day could it be possible that we all celebrate and share the same history?


"Those who have no record of 
what their forebears have accomplished 
lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history -
(Dr. George Carter Woodson)."

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these 
(Mark 12:31-32)."




What are your thoughts?

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