Dr. Ernest Levister
Black History Month grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
Although there is a lot of controversy about what Black History Month may mean or represent, to Americans, Black History month is not about what was done to African Americans, but about what they were able to endure, overcome and what they have been able to achieve. Celebrating Black History month shouldn’t be a time when people speak up about their opinions regarding whether or not they deserve the honor of remembrance. It shouldn’t involve pointing fingers or putting blame on who did what. It’s recognizing how they were able to overcome their obstacles, stand up for their rights and with the exception of some, use nonviolent acts to make a change in the world.
From the beginning of slavery dating back to the 1600s, to the Civil Rights movement and to the current issues that are still dealt with to this day, regardless of what one’s personal feelings are towards African Americans and their history, or no matter who was at fault, or what the story was, this month is purely about remembering and respecting.
I believe the challenges that African Americans experienced have made them into who they are today. Their history has created a sense of motivation, and the desire to strive for more. The desire to want respect and for some, giving others something to respect and even look up to.
As this month continues and every year when February rolls around, with all personal opinions and feelings left aside, without stereotyping and judgment, it is important to remember to respect everything that the African American community has been through and still goes through.
Great African American citizens include: MLK Jr., Sojourner Truth, Fredrick Douglass, Hiram R. Revels, W.E.B. Dubois, Rosa Parks, Charles Drew, Thurgood Marshall, and the list goes on, including present day African Americans leaving their mark.
These are all people who managed to make a difference in history. Without them, the African American community wouldn’t be where they are today and our country wouldn’t have made the progress that it has towards African Americans. Although there is still room for improvement, they set perfect examples for the African American community and honorably give us something to respect during this month, and throughout the year.