Black History Month Must Go Beyond Slavery and The Civil Rights Movement

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by Angel Terry – Editor-in-Chief & Sports Editor

As February, my favorite month of the year, progresses we are reminded of the importance of individuals like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and other well-known black folks who made some impact in America.
A celebration of individuals of this caliber seems to be the general, superficial consensus of what Black History Month is to most of the United States. We spend the first day of February listening to our teachers briefly lecture on the importance of appreciating these individuals and their contributions to society, then spend the next 27 days returning to the regular curriculum. In addition, we listen to a variety of voices moan and whine about why this month is celebrated, or why there are no “history months” for other ethnic groups.
Personally, I am fed up with the misconceptions placed on the celebration of Black History Month; only because most people do not expel enough effort to do simple google searches on the significances, or at least listen to their Black peers on why this month is so important to us.
Black History Month is not a month meant to be exclusionary towards all other races and ethnicities. It is not as if Black people all sit at a table before February begins and conspire like, “Hmm, how can we find a way to upset the rest of the world by being happy and Black.” In fact, May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, September 15 to October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, and November is Native American Heritage Month.
In addition, the existence of Black History Month arises from a lack of representation, and celebration of Black people, despite being the individuals who contributed just as much to the foundation of America as we know it. A group of people who have made significant improvements to our daily life that are not portrayed in school textbooks beyond the slavery unit or the civil rights unit.
Finally, Black History Month is a month more than education; it is a month of celebration. It is a collective celebration of seeing just how far Black people have come during the last several hundred years- and an opportunity to take pride in these achievements.
It might be because I am an irritated Black teenager who is tired of people disregarding the significance of this month that I would feel so strongly about it. There is nothing about this month that seeks to destroy society, or make anyone feel like their achievements are insignificant because they are not black. If a month with such wholesome intention seems to be so bothersome, then maybe some deliberation must occur within oneself to understand where such frustration originated.
Nevertheless, if it bothers you that much, fret not my friend, it is the shortest month of the year.

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