Has the time come to abolish Black History Month?Roundup
tags: Black History Month
“The Negro had no history.”
— Edward Channing
Those acidic words, uttered by
Channing, a famous history professor at Harvard University in 1912, served as a lightning rod for what Americans of all backgrounds today celebrate as African-American History Month.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, a black student of Channing’s at the time, countered that widely-
held racist belief by organizing what today is known as the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History. In 1925, Woodson and his group declared the first observance of Negro History Week, timed to encompass the birthdays of famed abolitionist Frederick Douglass and venerated U.S. President
Abraham Lincoln in mid-February.
In 1970, members of Black United Students at nearby Kent State University expanded the observance to the full month of February. Six years later during this nation’s proud bicentennial, President Gerald Ford recognized Black History Month as an annual national observance.
Today, however, a widening spectrum of Americans argue that Black History Month has run its course and become obsolete. Some whites contend that the observance is little more than reverse racism that singles out the achievements of one race of people at the expense of many others. Some blacks argue that the observance shortchanges the contributions of black Americans by pigeonholing them into one month — and the shortest month at that — of the year. As a result, American history remains segregated during the other 11 months.
To all such critics, we respectfully disagree....
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