In 1926, Carter G. Woodsen along with the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History decreed the second week of February to be “Negro History Week.” This week was chosen specifically, because it encompassed both Frederick Douglass’ birthday on February 14 and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12.
“A number of mayors had already adopted the celebration as a municipal event by the time President Gerald Ford decreed Black History Month a national observance in 1976, on both the fiftieth anniversary of the first iteration and America’s bicentennial year.”(Time)
“In celebrating Black History Month,” Ford said in his message, “we can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” (Time)
But is it enough?
To me, no.
Having a Black History month is great. It allows us to take time and reflect on the past achievements of our ancestors and recognize the importance of their work. However, it’s not enough.
Black History needs to be integrated into American History, because American History is essentially Black History. We cannot ignore the fact that African Americans have played an important if not most important role in the construction, establishment, and fabrication of America.
Our history as Americans, is laced with the cultures of African Americans and we just choose not to look as closely to see their imprint.
So in a nutshell, Black History month is great, but we need, as Americans, to integrate it into our regular history.