Every February I am reminded of Why Black History Month Matters. I teach a course in African American History and I am often shocked at how little our children know about our history, so should we expect anyone else to know about it? As someone who is always thinking about history, I really like February, as this is the month that false narratives, alternative facts, fictitious news, is countered by some truth. During this month, America has to acknowledge it’s past, and we learn something new. In February other voices are heard and not just the popular or sanitized voices. Black History Month is the time when we teach our children about themselves and their ancestors, so teach your children something new about Black History. They in-turn will teach others.
As we recognize the contributions of African Americans to the United States of America, we should not treat all contributors or contributions in the same manner. Africa is a rich and diverse continent and so are its people and descendants. We must celebrate our Diversity, not only that we make America diverse.
The African Diaspora produced a worldwide collection of communities descended from native sub-Saharan Africans and Western Africans, predominantly in the Americas. The consequence of the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade was that African people dispersed throughout the Caribbean, South, Central and North America enhancing all areas touched by Africans. We are not all of one tribe, but our African ancestry unites us and gives us strength. This Black History Month, we should be mindful to remember our past and celebrate our diversity, as it is a part of the African American contribution. This Black History Month, we must seek out a new hero to highlight, one that embodies that. Seize the opportunity to teach America about our value and not let others tell us that our contributions were monolithic. We must embrace our diversity during Black History Month and our contributions to America.
This not only helps us, but creates a better America. It may seem like a small contribution, but it is more than what was done in January or what will be done in March. Every time we chip away at systemic racism through education- we are making a better America and world for our children. The Civil Rights Movement not only helped African Americans, receive better treatment, all other Americans benefited from the struggles of African Americans. February is our opportunity to remind America that without the contributions of African Americans, America would not be the rich cultural melting pot that it is!