Black History Month -- Has it outlived its usefulness?
"You're going to relegate my history to a month?" Freeman asked in an interview broadcast on"60 Minutes" in December."I don't want a black history month. Black history is American history."
Some African Americans agree that the observance belittles black history. But most prominent African Americans and historians say Freeman's thinking is wishful -- the reality is that black history isn't being taught and that trumpeting it, even for the shortest month of the year, is the best alternative.
"Without Black History Month, we wouldn't think about our history at all," said Tony Muhammad, a Nation of Islam minister in Los Angeles who does about 80 speaking engagements about black history from Kwanzaa through February each year."Every culture needs its identity. We should better use the month to tell the truth of our history and what black people have given to the world ... instead of leaving it to the Europeans."
Black History Month began as Negro History Week in 1926. Historian Carter G. Woodson picked the second week of February to mark the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and iconic abolitionist, orator and former slave Frederick Douglass.
In 1976, after supporters lobbied federal officials, the week was expanded to the entire month during the nation's bicentennial celebration.
Woodson didn't expect the celebration to last forever.
comments powered by Disqus
- 'Sexist' Paris streets renamed in the name of feminism
- NYT profiles a path-breaking transgender pioneer who became a judge
- CIA Plans Huge Release of Top-Secret Reports From the 1960s
- South Dakota drops history as a high school requirement
- The Forgotten History Of 'Violent Displacement' That Helped Create The National Parks
- Historian author Antony Beevor says his new World War 2 book may anger Americans
- Ron Radosh and Allis Radosh plan to defend Warren Harding in a new book
- Historians tackle America’s mass incarceration problem
- Report: Russian studies in crisis
- Ken Burns: Donald Trump’s birtherism — a “politer way of saying the ‘N-word'” — proves America isn’t remotely “post-racial”