Black History Month is acknowledged by some, celebrated by some and ignored by some in the United States every February.
Yeah...yeah, I know that it is the shortest month of the year and “they” could have given us a month that had more days in it. I am not a conspiracy theorist or anything, but I can see how someone could look at that and make that argument.
The question I have though is, who is “THEY” and why do “THEY” get to dictate when, how and how often the contributions of blacks in this country are acknowledged and celebrated.
I believe it is a travesty when our country, full of red-blooded Americans, choose to single out the contributions of blacks in this country and treat them as if they are not a complete and total part of AMERICAN HISTORY, let alone BLACK HISTORY.
Why aren’t they a COMPLETE part of the school curriculum from elementary to high school?
Why can’t BLACK HISTORY or the study of it be an additional course that students can choose as an elective to compliment the COMPLETE inclusion of BLACK HISTORY in the history books and discussions in our American universities and colleges?
Why should the contributions of Benjamin Banneker, who helped survey the city of Washington, DC or George Washington Carver, who discovered hundreds of new uses for fruits and vegetables (particularly peanuts) or Charles Drew, who pioneered the techniques for Blood Banking and Blood Transfusions, be limited to only 28 days in February and archived until the following year?
Why should students not know about Edward Alexander Bouchet, the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in Physics from Yale and was only the 6th American to earn a Ph.D. in Physics in the United States, graduating 6th in his class and being the first black person nominated to Phi Beta Kappa. However, with all of those credentials, Dr. Bouchet could not even get a job, after receiving his doctorate, because he was a black man.
Or what about somebody that we should all be thanking God for every day, especially here in Texas where I live, David Crosthwait, Jr. Crosthwait graduated from Purdue University after studying Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and holds 39 US patents and 80 international patents dealing with Heating and AC systems and invented the HVAC systems for the Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall in New York.
These are but a few of the MANY contributions of blacks to our wonderful country, we call America.
These were Americans....these were BLACK AMERICANS.
And these BLACK AMERICANS should be embraced and exalted to the status of significance year-round, not just in February!
I believe that everyone, regardless of race, should:
Tell the story of BLACK AMERICANS, not just in schools, colleges and universities, but in our homes and to our youth
Volunteer to work with young people at schools, churches and other out-reach activities to share information and history about these wonderful BLACK contributors to our society, past and present
Volunteer to participate in Black History programs in February and year-round
Join groups that have an emphasis on Black History education
Further our own education about Black History through reading books and Internet research
I applaud everyone that makes it a commitment to highlight the contributions of Black people in February, it is a wonderful tribute.
My challenge is that we move beyond making a month-long tribute and make a year-long educational impact in the lives of our youth and every American citizen.