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The real reason we celebrate Black History Month

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Americans have celebrated and recognized Black History annually since 1926 because of one man, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who has been deemed the “father” or “founder” of “Black History Month” or what was once named “Negro History Week” but eventually changed to Black History Month. To celebrate Black History went from officially recognizing it for a week to a full month, which we still do today, or at least many of us do because let’s be honest, to many people if it’s not a self-serving event like Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve and Day then many people don’t care to participate. Offer some martinis or whatever type of alcohol at any event and people are there, so why not add some glorified poison to your next Black History Month event to catch many peoples’ attention? It’s true! Bring the alcohol and people will follow, so why not mix an all time favorite with great education and history, to bring the public closer to Black History. The museums are up to a good start, why do you think all of these museums started adding Friday events mixed with alcohol- it sure ain’t for the hell of it that’s for sure, but it’s to be more appealing to these alcoholics out here that won’t attend a perceived bore without being enticed without alcohol. And of course it’s to appeal to the younger ones, who whether spend their Friday nights at a party or somewhere else perceived as better fun than being stuck at a boring place on a Friday night, so there you have your educational night event now filled with alcohol, fun and laughter. (Oh please I’m not fighting against alcohol that’s for sure).

But before we get to the clinking of glasses and mingling at such wondrous Black History Annual functions we have to honor the “Father of Black History Month” or what was originally named “Negro History Week” and that would be Dr. Carter G. Woodson. No surprise at all that the group, African Americans, had difficulty placing the annual historical month into action in the beginning because of the harsh history of every goal accomplished by Blacks in America being fought with such visceral actions, laws and policies racially inspired, and racist blocks put in front of African Americans. (But now it’s cool for Americans not to speak of Thee). The group has always been viewed as the worst or one of the worst if we choose to include Mexicans, so African Americans and Mexicans are considered the lowest form of people on this American soil, but to the contrary these two groups are totally not by no means since the opinions of too many are nothing than mere thoughts based off of “nothing” since the opinions are based off of total ignorance. (And ignorance has been defined as lack of knowledge, learning, information, or anything else containing lack of what you need to have in order to know about something). Really, many people didn’t know that definition so it’s a responsibility that must be shared, and it was certainly my pleasure to offer it.

Although it was a rough start to get “Negro History Week” (now Black History Month) up and running it’s now celebrated across the nation, and internationally as well- including a very strong commitment to African Americans in Paris, France. (Quite a strong and long history between African Americans and Paris, France).

Although Black people have been in America as far back as colonial times, it wasn’t until the 20th century that this group gained a respectable presence in history books, so it’s no wonder why Black history had barely begun to be studied or even documented at the time the tradition originated.

So there we have it- Black people, their history, their stories, their crowns drowned and washed out in America, so finally a strong force was coming, brewing, and stirring to make sure Black History and Black people were officially represented. The study of Black people is what helped to mold what has become Black History Month, and it all began when Dr. Carter G. Woodson decided to study Black people and their histories.

Born to parents who were former slaves, Woodson spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coal mines, and enrolled in high school as age twenty. After graduating high school within two years he later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard, and the scholar was disturbed, horrified, and sad to find in his studies or particular field that the history books largely ignored the Black American population. But wait!- the scholar easily found over and over again when African Americans were represented in history books they were generally made to seem like they had an inferior social position they were given at that particular time. Woodson was determined to not have his group represented in a false way or at least push the full story into the forefront, so he set out to establish the “Journal of Negro History” and always one to act on his ambitions he decided to take on the tremendous challenge of writing Black Americans into the nation’s history. So again, all of us owe him and should and must pay him respect and honor him, because can you imagine today’s world without him!?

Without him starting the beginning of what would later be coined “Black History Month” the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (now named the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History) and the respected Journal of Negro History would have never happened. In 1915 the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History was started, and the following year the Journal of Negro History began. And from there the Negro History Week was launched in 1926 as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of Black people throughout American history. All of your concerns as an African American about not being recognized or respected as a group, personally, socially, and professionally can all thank one man- and that would be Dr. Carter G. Woodson because he answered the Black community of then and now issue of not being represented and noticed, so future generations can and should continue to honor him- but first you should begin by knowing of him for starters.

A little fun and important fact is February for Negro History Week (now Black History Month) was chosen because the second week of February marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the Black American population. Who might those men be, and they would be Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. However, of course February has so much more than just these two men- Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln to show for its significance in Black American history or African American history.



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