By Frederick J. Goodall for Mamiverse
Last February, I asked my older kids how they were commemorating Black History Month at school. Both children gave me blank stares.
“My teachers haven’t even mentioned it,” said my 10-year-old daughter.
“What’s Black History Month?” asked my 8-year-old son.
Although I was disappointed by their responses, I was not surprised. Celebrating Black History Month seems to have fallen out of fashion in our country. When I was a kid growing up in the 70s and 80s, Black History Month was much more emphasized. I can still remember writing reports on people like Langston Hughes, Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. Dubois, Duke Ellington, and Frederick Douglass. We had parades, television specials, and school assemblies.
Now, Black History Month seems to be a blip on the calendar that is marked by a brief mention of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the acknowledgement that Barack Obama is our first African-American president.
I must admit that I didn’t really emphasize Black History Month before that encounter with my children. I was squarely in the camp that believed African-Americans were getting short shrift by having our culture regulated to the shortest month of the year. Therefore, I ignored it.
However, I have since come to realize that all of our accomplishments would go unnoticed if not for Black History Month. We must celebrate it and make it much more than just a rehash of the Civil Rights Movement and slavery. African American history is American history, and we must treat it as such.
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