By Christian Morales, Youth Development Correspondent
February: the month of love, pride, and history. This time of year is special for a lot of reasons, not just because of Black History Month itself, but for the nationwide sense of acceptance and equality amongst the people that inspired the month-long celebration.
Black history month started back in 1915, 50 years after the Thirteenth Amendment repealed slavery in the US. Currently known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group promoted a national Black History week back in ‘26, choosing the second week of the month to correspond with the birthdays of both Abe Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
The event moved schools and communities across the nation to organize local commemorations, establish history clubs, as well as host performances and lectures.
In the decades that past, mayors of cities across the country began issuing yearly proclamations recognizing Black History Week. In the late ‘60s, with some aid from the civil rights movement and a growing awareness of black identity, Black History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses. The newly embraced holiday was first officially recognized in 1976 by President Gerald Ford.
It is, in my opinion, very important that the youth in this generation know why we celebrate Black History Month. I’ve begun to notice the younger generations know less and less of their roots or how African Americans gained equal rights. Having knowledge of your basic human rights, amendments, as well as who took the first steps against racism and discrimination is what allows others to take advantage of the ones less fortunate.
If there was one thing I could teach the kids and adolescents of today concerning Black History Month, it would be that equality only exists in the hearts of the few and on paper.
In the words of one of my associates, TaDaris Jones, “from the day you’re born, Black History month should be celebrated 365 days a year.” TaDaris believes that one’s culture and self love place above all.
Black History Month is more than just a time to be prideful of your ethnicity. It is a time to become aware of what it took for your race to reach this point and learn how to further that growth.
That being said, I’d like to ask, “What does Black History month mean to you?”