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Black History Month is more than just a month

Black History Month is more than just a month

Black History Month is more than just a month
February 07
10:30 2020

Black History Month is a month for celebrating and recognizing the achievements of Black Americans which origniated from “Negro History Week,” founded by Carter G. Woodson and a few other African Americans, according to history.com. Since 1976, every U.S. president has declared February as Black History Month. Countries including Canada and the United Kingdom also dedicate a month throughout the year to celebrate black history.

The story of Black History Month begins in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States.

That September, the Harvard-trained historian Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and others of African descent.

Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The event inspired schools and communities nationwide to organize local celebrations, establish history clubs and host performances and lectures.

In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Negro History Week. By the late 1960s, thanks in part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.

President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Now that we have the breakdown of Black History Month and why it is celebrated, let’s get into how one can celebrate the month, regardless if you are black or not.

First things first, read up on your history. Even though I’ve always been taught my history as an African American, I feel as if there is always something left to be learned.  Do some research about a specific person in black history and their accomplishments, then go out and educate your peers on it.

Secondly, support a black-owned business.  There are so many up-and-coming black business owners thriving out there. Go support them and their brand, and what they are peddling. A brand I support and love is “WRLDINVSN” (World In Vision). This is a clothing brand owned by two young black men from New Orleans who were trying to provide for their families at the start of their company. I found a love for their mission and the significance of their brand, and the quality of their merchandise is top tier. Check them out at www.wrldinvsn.com.  If you are still unsure whether a business or brand is black-owned or not, doing research will easily help.

Third, go visit a civil rights museum. I’ve been to a few in recent years and they are all unique in their own way with similar, powerful messages. You will learn so much about the history that is usually left untaught. The Dallas Civil Rights Museum is an excellent one to seek out.

Lastly, support black creatives, whether that be in music, poetry or art. There are so many rising black artists who do not get enough credit for their artistry. Support them, stream their music, buy their artwork and anything else they are creating.

Although black people have this month dedicated to them to celebrate and highlight their accomplishments, don’t think that it stops here. Black or not, there’s not a date or time that is required for you to do any of the things I suggested. January to December is an appropriate time to support black history. If you happen to come across someone who has experienced the civil rights era, be sure to thank them.

Let’s also not forget to pay respects to all of the black lives that were lost from police brutality, crime and even the ones who put their lives on the line to get us where the rest of us are today.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.”

Happy Black History Month!

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Tierra Bartie

Tierra Bartie

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