By Princess Welch
When you think of history, where does your mind go? Does it go back to those lessons in high school or elementary? “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Do any Black historical figures come to mind other than Dr. Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks? For most people, the answer is no. This is why it is necessary to highlight historical figures and events via Black History Month. Having a month to give voice to Black gems that are often buried, such as Booker T. Washington, Madam C.J. Walker and W.E.B. DuBois, completes the narrative of history as a whole.
That’s right, Black history is literally just history. There are people that see the word Black in front of history and feel uneasy. It has often been described as “divisive.” I must say, I can somewhat agree. Having a whole month dedicated to Black history should be a bit redundant since Black history and history in general are the same thing. They are a part of the same narrative. If Black figures and events were commonly taught alongside American figures and events throughout the year, then I would see no need in having a Black History Month. As of now, this is not the case.
Black people existed, and continue to exist, outside of slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. We are inventors, entrepreneurs, authors, writers and everything else. Until this is common knowledge, Black History Month is necessary. This month is not to create separation, it is an attempt at filling the cracks that Black influence seems to slip through in the average history course. Struggle is a piece of our history, an important piece might I add, but it is not our entirety. Black history is brilliance, ingenuity and beauty.
So who is Black History Month for? You. If you are reading this article, it is for you. It is for whoever is beside you. It is for everyone to embrace and celebrate in its entirety. There are going to be some hard truths and tough discussions along the way, but there will be facts. It might be a little late in the month, but now is always the best time to learn something new. So, let’s start. Did you know Matthew Henson, along with Admiral Robert Peary and others, became one of the first men to reach the North Pole in 1909? Also, did you know Dr. Charles Drew invented a technique for the long-term preservation of blood plasma? Prior to his discovery, blood could only be stored for two days. Do you know what happened in Tulsa in 1921? These are just topics to get you started. Now, go research and discuss. Happy Black History Month!