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Black History Month According to College Students

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Black History Month is a month dedicated to celebrating African-American achievements and their role in U.S. History. It first started out as a week-long celebration, before February was designated as Black History Month in 1976. This is a very important month for many, as it teaches us about the prominent figures that aided in the Black History movement, but for some, there isn’t a personal meaning. I, for one, appreciate the month but do not have any other opinions about it, so I reached out to Black and African-American college students to hear their take. Here are some of their responses.

“It’s a time of year where black excellence gets its chance to shine in the median and receive the recognition it deserves.” – Trinity Brown

“To me, Black History Month means celebrating the lives of those who are oppressed but resilient. Celebrating that as a people, we’ve come so far but also recognizing that we still have more work to do.” – A Queen named Princess

“A month dedicated to remembering and honoring the great works of African-Americans.” – Beth

“A month that highlights the achievements of people with black skin within the United States…mostly.” – Tojo

“As a young biracial woman, Black History Month is a time of appreciation and celebration, honoring the people that made it possible for me to be born, grow up in a diverse, loving family, attend college and pursue a life, devastatingly enough, some of them could only dream of.” – Rachel

“I’m glad that African American achievements are recognized throughout the month, but I believe that this recognition shouldn’t be just a month-long affair. It should be year round, every single day type of deal. Black history should be every single day, not just a month.” – D

“Black History Month doesn’t mean much to me, but I feel it shows that White America still doesn’t shed open arms to the black community completely. Like the Indians got reservations, and the Jews got a whole a** country, but all black people get is a month to recognize our pain and struggles? That’s some b******t; we are still looked at just n****s.” – Zane Hairston

“If not for a lot of change, I’d still be considered 3/5ths of a […] person. I’ve spent all my life around these stupid [people]. We compete within our own community so much over the dumbest things, to the point where killing and stealing from each other is considered the norm. We as a people need to work on ourselves before dropping the blame on every white person we see. Sure, Black History Month means a lot to me in the sense that I am here, free and breathing because of the work of those before me. But honestly, Black History Month doesn’t mean sh*t to me because black people as a whole have become the exact thing we claimed to once despise, ‘the white man’. Now, we are our own oppressors.” – Micah D. Moore

“Africans in Western Civilization, The United States. African-Americans we call them, have been dehumanized, owned as cattle, stripped of cultural understanding and coerced into serving America. To be quite honest, Black History Month is merely a Band-Aid over a bloody and beaten body. America’s public schools have failed to incorporate African history as a subject. African-Americans, including myself, are oblivious to the cultural roots of Africa and have been stripped of this knowledge of themselves and myself since the struggle for independence from Britain, and the founding of the ‘Free Nation’. African-Americans are dead without the knowledge of themselves. African culture, within America and outside of it (Africa), has gone unexplored in American Schools, past history and the status quo. African Americans are exploited by the prison systems of this ‘Free Country,’ creating a modern slave workforce, confining them not only physically but psychologically. The plight of African Americans needs to be actively studied, both past and present history. Black history should be studied every day of the year. For centuries, African-Americans have been, and continue to be, alienated, attacked and conquered. America has no interest in empowering black people; this has been the case for African Americans since the fight for independence. Teaching African Americans the horrors committed by the “Free Nation” would produce outrage, hostility and, worst of all, collective understanding and action. America does not wish for African-American citizens to challenge the powers that control it. To acknowledge black history would be to acknowledge the efforts of Washington and the CIA to entice MLK to commit suicide. To acknowledge black history would show Reagan’s administrations flooding the streets of New York ghettos with crack cocaine, and to fuel mass incarceration. To acknowledge black history would reveal the rape of a people and destroy the myth of freedom and values the nation pledges to bring. America does not stand for Black lives or Black History.” – Kendel Jordan

Black History Month means a lot to black and African-American college students in different ways. Some appreciate the month, finding it appropriate in celebrating Black History, while others took off on the prompt “What does Black History Month mean to you” and used it to bring awareness to the plights that affect blacks and African-Americans throughout history as well as today. Black History Month is important, but I agree that we should be taught about the struggles, both past and present, and normalize the everyday celebration of the Black and African-American community.

Paige Pennebaker

Chapel Hill '21

Paige Pennebaker is an aspiring writer who attends UNC-Chapel Hill as a Senior during the day. She enjoys writing fiction and has been published on shortfictionbreak.com. While fiction is where her heart is, Paige also has a lot to say about the real world and how to get by.
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