February tends to have a focus on Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, and the extra day for leap year (or lack thereof). Yet, as I’ve gotten older, I see less and less about the fact that February is also Black History month and out of all of these things, definitely the most important. History classes and texts are always written to make the white men who were in power seem infallible, omitting the amazing accomplishments of the groups of people who really kept this country afloat.
However, an online magazine called The Undefeated is seeking to change the way we view the past and current events, publishing articles mainly about professional black athletes but also touching on other black celebrities who may be in the news at the moment. Recently, they did a project called The Undefeated 44, which is a “collection of dreamers and doers, noisy geniuses and quiet innovators, record breakers and symbols of pride and aspiration” (The Undefeated). While these 44 people are not meant to represent the greatest or most influential African-Americans of all time, they want to educate people about 44 amazing human beings that shook up their field but may not have gotten the recognition they deserve.
On this list, you may see familiar names like Michael Jackson, Serena Williams, Barack Obama, and Stevie Wonder. Classic historical figures like Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr., and Harriet Tubman. There may be a few, or a lot, of names that you don’t recognize because they have not been made as well known. Regardless, this is your chance to know more about someone familiar, or completely new.
Did you know that MTV had such an unspoken segregationist content policy that Michael Jackson’s label threatened to censure MTV if they didn’t show his videos? Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr. specifically used Easter time as a pressure on merchants to make changes, since it is the second most popular buying time of the year? Do you know about Shirley Chisholm, the first black candidate for a major party’s nomination and the first woman to run for the Democratic party’s nomination?
Whether you think you know everything there is to know about Black History Month or not, this website is a great place to learn something new. 44 African-Americans, all with their own lives, stories, and accomplishments to help push this country forward. So I highly encourage you to take a look at the website because you’re not just interacting with a website during Black History Month, you’re interacting with history.