During the month of February, African-American history is remembered, commemorated, and celebrated under the banner of Black History Month. Today is February 26th, the same day that Carter G. Woodson started the celebration of Negro History Week, which was the precursor to Black History Month that’s celebrated today. Carter pushed for this week because of the way that black history was ignored and suppressed through the racist idea that said blacks didn’t make valuable contributions to society.
The unfortunate reality is that as important as history is, societies throughout history have attempted to control the narrative of people groups. The attempt to control black history has been well documented in American history, and it has made a tremendous impact in how blacks are portrayed, even to this day. History has so much value because of the way it informs our identity in the present, as well as how we live in making history. Whenever someone gains an understanding of their history, they see their ability to make an impact.
Sometimes it’s so easy for us to live only day-to-day and not foster a generational mindset concerning the choices we make. Knowing our history helps us to reconsider what we invest our time in, especially considering the unprecedented access and opportunity we have now.
If we take the time to consider black history as we do with all the other threads of history, we will become more informed and empowered. Of course this isn’t the only way to be informed and empowered, but most of the people groups that exist had a wealth of history to bank on, and whenever any part of history is minimized we all suffer for it.
When I learned of the brilliant black minds of those before my time, it enhanced my view of what we can do and who we are today. One example of how my view was enhanced is how I learned about the accomplishments of people like Langston Hughes and MLK Jr., while seeing how young they were as they made a difference! It can be easy to wait until you’re older to make change happen, yet the way we view youth and ability in this modern age hinders us more than it helps.
As BHM comes to a close in the next two days, let us recognize the importance of history and its impact on the narrative we follow in the present. The heart behind Negro History Week and BHM is that the truth in history is central to the progress and health of society. What are your thoughts about Black History Month and the value of history in general? Is it necessary? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!