Carter G. Woodson worked to preserve the history of African Americans and accumulated a collection of thousands of artifacts and publications. Many historians ignored and refused to record african american accomplishments, thus many stayed unknown for long periods of time. In 1926, Woodson created the celebration of Negro History Week. The week was assigned to the second week in February, which included Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays. Then, in 1969-1970, the Black United Students at Kent State University created and began to celebrate Black History Month. (Julia Zorthian 2018)
Finally, in 1976, President Ford, transformed Black History Week into the entire month of February. Even though Black History Month was a great way to recognize African American contributions in the 1900s, it is unnecessary and should be disposed of today. Today, US school programs should include african american history within white American history because Black History Month is limited to February, it focuses on only a small group of individuals, and it isolates blacks as a subpopulation. Black History Month taking place during February is very troubling. First and foremost, Black History Month was given the shortest month of the year. Despite Negro History Week originating around Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays, it is astounding that black history is given such a short time period to be looked over. In addition, with all the important people and events that make up black history, those birthdays are fairly insignificant. Most importantly, making a small fraction of the year the designated time to review black history de-emphasizes it the remainder of the year.
After people celebrate Black History Month, many feel less obligated to continue their black history studies after. Studying black history should not be piled into a 28 day period every year because of Black History Month’s negative influences.Both on posts on social media, and in many books and discussions, only a small group of inspirational african americans are discussed. As an example, most Americans talk about Rosa Parks during Black History Month. However, most people are never educated about who was Claudette Colvin. She is a 15 year old girl who was arrested while protesting Montgomery, Alabama’s segregation laws. “On March 2, 1955, Claudette Colvin refused to move for a white passenger—nine months before Rosa Parks would do the same.” (Holland 2017) With countless influential african americans unaccounted for during Black History Month, Black History Month is clearly not suitable to cover the depths of black history.When Black History Month was celebrated in the 1900s, it was useful to inform people about black history in a very racist society. At a time where segregation was still a problem, Black History Month seemed quite necessary for any widespread education of African Americans to be the pursued. However, by 2019, racism and segregation have clearly made a drastic advance towards it’s elimination. Now, Black History Month creates a barrier that prevents black history to be completely infused into school taught American history.
Singling out black history halts advances towards the elimination of racism and segregation in the US. Ridding the US of Black History Month, and including an expansion of its content in US school programs, would make countless improvements to the education of black history. Studying black history year round in US school programs provides an honorable and considerate amount of time for learning about such an essential and extensive topic. With a more limitless time period, historical characters-who often go unmentioned during Black History Month-can be given their proper examination. Without separating black history from the rest of US history, black US citizens won’t be thought of differently than white US citizens; the US can be given a better opportunity to diminish any accounts of racism. Overall, US school programs should include african american history within white American history because it would provide ample time to cover important material, learn about all influential African Americans, and allow black US history and white US history to be studied side by side.