Monday, February 1, 2010

Black History Month: Is There a Need For It?

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As we all know, the month of February is Black History Month. Started as "Negro History Week" in 1926, by Carter G. Woodson, this week was to commemorate the impact of blacks in this country. Started in the second week of February, this week boasted the birthdays of two people Woodson believed to be very influential to African American History, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. (Now that we know this month was not given to us but was created by one of us, can we all agree to retire the 'Shortest Month of the Year' Joke? Thanks.)

Well, here we are 2010 and people are questioning the importance of Black History Month. There are those who believe the significance of this month is infinitesimal because we should be making Black History every day. One point for them. I agree. However, there are those who believe indeed it is still relevant because like W.E.B. DuBois prophesied some hundred years ago, "the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color line" and it is also the problem the Twenty-First Century. So I believe we are at a tie.

I am honestly perplexed. I mean it just seems that Black people have become so concerned with breaking away from what they believe to be social confines that we don't want to embrace anything. There are some African Americans who say Black History Month restricts us to our history in this country. On the other hand, there are blacks who refuse to accept the definition African American because they feel no connection to Africa. It is all too much.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating Black History Month. Especially when there is an Asian Pacific Heritage month, a Hispanic Heritage month, and a Native American Heritage Month. Quite frankly I think in an effort to redefine ourselves we have created a mess. Furthermore, I believe if we aren't careful we will end up destroying our reverence for the past and where it has brought us. What do you think? Is Black History Month still necessary?
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