Why is all of Black History Packed Into A Month?


image courtesy of troll.me

It’s that time of the year again. When you start seeing posts about civil rights leaders, black culture, and just black history in general. Suddenly Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Frederick Douglass appear up and down your timelines throughout the month of February. Where were these monumental black historical figures just a month ago? Why were they not mentioned prior to these 28 days, with the exception of the Monday off for MLK in January? Well that’s because now it’s Black History Month, the only time black history is mentioned without images of the Triangular Trade Route. Though Black History Month is important, it is also problematic because black history is American history and it is waaaay to vast to be condensed into a month. The shortest month at that.

The origin of Black History Month


Carter G. Woodson image courtesy of blackthen.com

Black History Month starts from the origin point of September 1915. Carter G. Woodson, a historian who attended Harvard and Jesse Moorland, a well-known minister, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History to promote the history of black Americans. In 1926 the organization held a national Negro History week during the second week of February due to Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’s birthday falling on the same week. Schools, communities, and politicians implemented this new week celebration annually. Soon it evolved into a month celebration on many campuses. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976.

Is Black History Not American History?

image courtesy of obamaeagle.org

The question was rhetorical. Black history and American history are synonymous because black Americans contributed just as much to our society as any other race. Simple things such as the refrigerator, traffic lights, combs, gas masks, and gas heating furnaces are just a few of the inventions that black Americans created. A lot of the history is undocumented or concealed, but a little research will go a long way in showing just how much blacks actually impacted America.

Twenty Eight Days…seriously?

image courtesy of makeameme.org

Twenty eight days is not a sufficient amount of time to cover so much knowledge. This leaves so much history uncovered. People like Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael, Audre Lorde, Lorraine Hansberry, Nina Simone, Nat Turner, Nikki Giovanni, Alice Walker, and James Baldwin etc., are often not covered like certain historical black figures due to lack of time. These hidden jewels added so much talent, culture, art, and impact to society, yet they are not praised like other American figures. Due to Black History Month being singled off, black history becomes an untouched subject by many non-blacks and not completely navigated by blacks. This perpetuates a strong disconnect between the different races of America.

image courtesy of pics.onsizzle.com

If we all acknowledged the shared history as well as understood that black history, with all of it’s greatness and sorrows, is an essential part of America’s past, there would be more room for conversations that need to be had. This topic shouldn’t be pushed aside 11 months of the year and then brought back out for a one month celebration like it’s America’s ugly stepchild. Black history should be celebrated year-round like any other part of American history. On that note, Happy Black History Year!