informer sidebar clear
Home
About Us
Across Georgia
Advertisers
Archives
Black History
Business
Church
Education
Entertainment
Herbert Dennard Show
Book Review
Advice
Health
Influential People
Lottery
Movie Review
Music Review
Politics
Social Issues
Special Pages
Sports
Subscribe
Berdine Dennard Berdine's Corner
informer logo
Cornelia Walker Publisher

Celebrating Black History Month

berdine dennard

Cornelia Walker

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of "Negro History Week," the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Woodson introduced the observance in 1926. It was a time when mainstream academia turned a determined blind eye toward the subject of black history in America. And African Americans endured the pain of glaring racial stereotypes, which affected not only their image in others’ eyes but, in many cases, their view of themselves.

Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Fast forward to the 21st century Barak Obama is president. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered on his own federal holiday. There are those who cite these facts and proclaim, case closed, as if that is the extent of black history. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history. One of the problems may be the widespread view, held by many, that this particular narrative is exclusively by, for and about African Americans. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Black history is not exclusively for black people, any more than a history course on the Founding Fathers would be exclusively for white males. When it comes to the African-American experience, every American and every human, for that matter stands to benefit from an informed awareness. We all learn from each other’s stories.

For Woodson, there was far too much at stake to let the matter rest.

There was the matter of academic integrity, for one thing. But from Woodson's point of view, it was also a matter of respect, worth and survival.

For Woodson, history served as evidence in the court of world opinion. "If you are unable to demonstrate to the world that you have this record, the world will say to you, 'You are not worthy to enjoy the blessings of democracy or anything else.' "

The tragedy is that all too often black Americans had heard that verdict pronounced again and again.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Barak Obama is president. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered on his own federal holiday. There are those who cite these facts and proclaim, case closed, as if that is the extent of black history.

But if the American experiment has taught us anything, it is that history is more than just a few select individual biographies. Globally, nationally and in every neighborhood, it is the ongoing narrative of nations, communities and peoples.

One of the problems may be the widespread view, held by many, that this particular narrative is exclusively by, for and about African Americans. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Black history is not exclusively for black people, any more than a history course on the Founding Fathers would be exclusively for white males. When it comes to the African-American experience, every American - and every human, for that matter - stands to benefit from an informed awareness. We all learn from each other’s stories.

Black history - like the history of other groups - is too important to be shunted aside into its own segregated neighborhood. The truth is this: Black history is American history, and vice versa. It is world history as well.

We have come a long ways and perhaps learn from the Tubman Museum rich in African-American History, a grass-roots community project that is spreading its influence far beyond county boundaries.The museum located in Macon Bibb County. Rather than rest on its laurels, it has used the milestone as a call to action, opening an exhibit of art on the experience of slavery and sponsoring other educational programs.

The conclusion is clear: Black History Month, like the observance of all history, should come 12 months a year.

But until it does, perhaps one designated month serves as a timely remember of how all of us should remember and celebrate our shared past.

Publisher's Letter Archives

© Copyright 2016 by The Middle Georgia Informer
P.O. Box 446, Macon, • GA 31202 * Ofc: 478-745-7265
Email: gainformer@yahoo.com