Issue 6 Magazine Opinions

It’s Time We Re-Learned Black History

By Christina Chen

Graphic by Rin Boegel

After being around for so long and recently being more embraced than ever before, we need to change Black History Month for the better. It doesn’t teach people enough about black history outside of the civil rights movement. Addressing and talking more about events that occurred not only during the civil rights movement but before and after could be one way of re-teaching and re-learning black history to help future generations understand it better. Hiding and not talking about the negative events that occurred in history won’t make them go away. A part of why history is taught in schools is so that we learn from others’ mistakes and don’t repeat them again, but if these mistakes aren’t even talked about, there is no way we can learn from them and try to not make the same mistakes again in the future.

When history is taught in schools, events are taught from the point of view of the country in which the school is located. If one were to take a history class in America, they would learn about events from America’s point of view. Similarly, if one were to attend a history class in Britain, they would learn about events from Britain’s point of view. Because of this, events are usually told to make the country look good. How many students know what a Sundown Town is? How many students know about Black Wall Street? Why is it that only Black people like Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are taught about in schools? Many of the positive and progressive events that occurred in history are taught but a lot of the negative and unfavorable events are omitted from United States history textbooks. 

Black History Month only ever seems to revolve around events that happened during the Civil Rights Movement. Students aren’t taught about the terrorist attack on Black Wall Street or about the lynchings in the 1890s. The stories that are told are chosen because they tell that country’s story. The hardships and challenges that that country encountered are told as well as their triumphs and victories. Parts of history that aren’t as favorable to that country are glossed over in history classes or not even mentioned at all. There isn’t a White History Month because every month is White History Month.

Black History Month should become more progressive. This isn’t the 1920’s; we’re living in the 21st century. Cars have improved, televisions have improved, and people have improved. If all of these things can progress for the better, then why can’t Black History Month?