Since 1976 Black History Month has been celebrated annually every February.  The month of February was chosen to collaborate with the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abe Lincoln. This is also the month is which is the original black history week took place, the powers that be agreed to extend the week into a month.  For years many have argued about the month of February being the shortest of all twelve months, alluding to being ripped off. I could understand this, but I don’t think having a month that extends to the 30 or 31st will make a world of difference.

The real problem that I see is the lack of history being taught.  There is little to no celebration that occurs during this great month.  I can’t speak for every city around the country, but I know in my city of Baltimore, I have to search for events.  Many other holidays are celebrated in plain sight; local news stations updating you on the events, the newspapers highlight major activities, all type of things. Unfortunately none of that is happening out here…. Yes there are things to attend, but not for the everyday person to notice.  I had to go through several Baltimore websites just to find something.  A city predominately black, with major museums that commemorate black cultural, I shouldn’t be searching for events.  This should be a time where volunteering and doing community service take place.  Times have changed drastically over the years, and it seems that the history of the month is being lost.

Even as I think back, I recall being in middle school, and having to do a basic report on some black historical figure.  Many of whom were picked by the teacher, and then assigned to the entire class.  I could tell you exactly who MLK and Malcolm X were, but outside of sports figures there was not much depth. Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens, and the list of athletes’ stretches on.  I don’t recall being held to any standard of report writing; just find out something about them.  It is amusing to me now as I look back, I realize that the people I so called ‘learned about ‘ I didn’t learn much of anything about them during my report writing days in grade school.  History books get rewritten on a yearly basis, but it still appears that the black history sections of these books are never expanded.  As I fast forward to 2012, with all of the technology, social networks, media, etc; I am shocked by how ignorant WE as a PEOPLE have become.  I feel like my youth to teenage years created many questions that were left unanswered. Now when I communicate with youth around the city, I feel like the entire history as a whole has vanished.

This truly bothers me as a black person.  I was having a conversation with my co-writer, and we both have interesting view points.  I was basically explaining to him that, these young people don’t know anything or anybody.  I said to him that many of the youth I work with probably have no clue of who W.E.B. Dubois is, or what Carter Woodson did.  He replied well that is well before their time, making it hard to relate. Very good point, but essentially I discussed with him the names of schools and their importance.  Now around Baltimore many schools are name after the most historical and well known black people.  I think that is the irony that bothers me the most. Students attendPaulL.DunbarHigh school, but have no idea who he even is. I asked a group of students what was he known for, all I got back was the blankest of stares. Then proceeded to ask what is the school mascot, replied the Poets. So in a frugal attempt to help them put things together, I continued with the notion “oh so it’s the Dunbar Poets?” ‘Yup’ so what is Paul L. Dunbar best known for?  Unfortunately no dots were connected; they gave me football player, basketball player, doctor… everything but the most obvious answer.  There are many other schools around the city, just like this; great names with no history. This is depressing to me, we as a culture should motivate youth more.

I’m perturbed with the idea of it being Black HISTORY Month; I just would like to see more history take place during this month, and throughout the year for that matter. I don’t blame just the students; I blame family, and the school system.  I hear all the time ‘it takes a village to raise a child’.  Personally I believe that it should take the same to educate one.  We are setting our youth up for failure, which in turn is removing pieces of Black History.   I took it to wiki (Wikipedia) to see what was stated for Black History Month, and this website only had two real paragraphs. There is a third that discusses the major arguments surrounding the month in general, but not major detail.  Many black people as a whole have become content with the way things are, happy to have a month.  However they fail to realize there is more history that needs to be told.  When I look at sports like football & basketball the players were things honor the month or somebody’s passing.  For example in October (breast cancer month), you can guarantee you will see pink in some form or fashion across the NFL. Cool, but how come Black History Month does not receive the same respect.  There is no black/red/green and yellow kente clothes spotted anywhere.  We have to fight for more. February is great month where history and enrichment needs to take place; we can’t continue to allow our youth to be happily ignorant.  Encourage everyone young or old to examine more about their history.  I would love to see students know the meaning behind their school names, or have more knowledge of their past after slavery. Many things have occurred throughout our history that mold and shape us. Sadly many things will be lost, if we continue to improperly educate the next generations.  Hopefully I can plant a seed that will grow in somebody’s mind.  Black History does not need a month to be explained… Black history needs people who care to pass in on to the next person.  I leave with you with this the meaning behind the colors chosen:

  • black—maturation, intensified spiritual energy
  • green—vegetation, planting, harvesting, growth, spiritual renewal
  • Red—political and spiritual moods; bloodshed; sacrificial rites and death.
  • yellow—preciousness, royalty, wealth, fertility

All appear to encourage growth in some form. Help others growth by educating them as best as possible.

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Comments
  1. raynasybelle says:

    Reblogged this on The Black Hole Of The Internet and commented:
    There is no point in having a Black History Month when there is no focus on Black History. I see this as a true travesty in Canada, as we only focus on famous American blacks. We need to discover worldwide black history and provide ways to teach everyone.

  2. Admin says:

    Good Post. You can check BFABP.com for similar content.

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