Contributor: Hank Wallace
Along with the student announcements, students have been hearing a quote and fact each day in honor of Black History Month. For those who do not know, Black History Month or African-American history month is a month (specifically February in the U.S.) dedicated to remembering people and events in black history.
Originally Black History Month was called Negro History Week. The second week of February was chosen because it had Abraham Lincoln’s (2/12) and Fredrick Douglass’s (2/14) birthdays in it. It was created by black historian, Carter G. Woodson, and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1926. It started gaining publicity in U.S. in the 70’s and was being celebrated across the country. It hit the U.K. in 1987 and it was first celebrated in London. Then Canada got in on the fun in ’95. And finally Ireland started celebrating in 2014.
This is the time that we celebrate our unification as a country and for accomplishments that may have been overlooked during a person’s lifetime, especially during moments in history when that recognition went more deliberately unnoticed or improperly unrecognized because of skin color.
Dr. King’s words in his “Dream” speech are still ringing loudly, for it would still “be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment” to be leaders of peace, “dignity, and discipline.” He also said that “we cannot walk alone…and we must always march ahead.” We should use Black History Month as an opportunity to remember or learn of those who pave(d) the way to help unify this country and to follow after their examples. We may always “face difficulties,” but we as the younger generation should be the advocates to “hold the truths to be self-evidence, that all men [and women] are created equal…and let freedom ring.”
As Soujourner Truth insisted she have a voice in her lines, “Ain’t I a Woman,” Langston Hughes echoed with the lines “I, Too, Am America” –Both spoke up and embraced the theme this month represents: the importance of the human voice, the urgency of being treated and treating others with humanity, and the necessity of living together with open-mindedness embracing our differences.