Byron Williams: One Month Does Not Do Black History Justice

Roundup: Talking About History

[Byron Williams is a syndicated columnist, author, and pastor of the Resurrection Community Church Oakland, CA.]

February marks the annual commemoration of Black History Month -- a feeble attempt to condense 391 years of history into a 28-day cycle. I say feeble not out of disrespect, but rather acknowledging the undertaking, if it is be a serious one, is insurmountable....

When President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, many of the comparisons were obviously drawn between him and Dr. King. They were the nation's most historically prominent African Americans and both winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, but very little was said about the first African American to win the Nobel honor, Dr. Ralph Bunche.

Dr. Bunche was intellectual and a diplomat. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for his mediation in Palestine, he was involved in the formation of the United Nations, and in 1963, President John F. Kennedy awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking during Black History Month, said we were a nation of cowards when it comes to race. We certainly lack the requisite maturity to confront sensitive issues authentically.

As a result, Black History Month, though its intent is a worthy exercise, in is current form has become a profoundly American endeavor. I define it a "profoundly American" because Black History Month carries a sound-bite aspect that is consistent with how most issues are addressed in our 21st century culture....

Black History Month is an arduous task because there is simply too much to cover in such a short period. And it hardly appears we possess the maturity to engage in an authentic integration of that history.

Therefore, the unintentional consequence of the current application of Black History Month denies all Americans a full and rich understanding of the contributions made by men and women who believed in America sometimes more than America believed in itself.

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