By Kyle To
In 1925, Carter G. Woodson, or the “Father of Black History” had an idea to create a Black History week. He called it “Negro History Week.” It was a week to celebrate the people in this country who didn’t have a voice or place in history. It was first celebrated in February 1925, in a week that encompassed the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas. By 1976, it was made a national month of celebration.
When asked about the importance of Black History Month, sophomore Izabella Vigare responded, “I think Black History Month is important, because it shows the more in-depth achievements of Black people across the globe who aren’t always recognized. It also further highlights their importance in a world that doesn’t always show appreciation for them.” Sophomore Allison Pal said, “I think Black History Month lets the people who are unrepresented in this country get a chance to shine. It doesn’t only shine a light on the history of Black Americans, but gives them a chance to spread awareness on current issues when their voices aren’t usually heard.”
Since 1976, February has been officially designated as Black History Month. Other countries like Canada and the United Kingdom also designate a month to celebrate Black history. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) promotes the study of Black history throughout the year. Black people have been a fundamental part of History since the beginning, and their voices need to be heard. Their place and impact in history aren’t being fully represented. Their contributions have been overlooked, ignored, or distorted.
All schools teach history since it is part of the curriculum, but it mainly focuses on the accomplishments of white figures, and whitewashes Black accomplishments or doesn’t give them enough attention. Black History Month allows the Black people of history to be focused on. It also lets the negative stereotypes of Black people portrayed by the media be challenged.
Black History Month is also widely celebrated in the UK. Some key figures focused on in the UK are: Walter Tull, the first Black officer to command white troops in the British Army and one of English football’s first Black players, Malorie Blackman, a bestselling author and the first black Children’s Laureate, Olive Morris, a social activist who co-founded groups such as the Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent and the Brixton Black Women’s Group, Dr. Shirley Thompson, the first woman in Europe to conduct and compose a symphony within the last 40 years, Lewis Hamilton, one of the most high profile competitors in Formula One and the only black driver.
Black History Month is an important month to celebrate and represent the under-represented. It lets Americans appreciate the accomplishments and achievements of the Black Americans throughout history.