The History of Black History Month

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The History of Black History Month

Jocelin Flora (11) reads up on black history in the library before school.

Jocelin Flora (11) reads up on black history in the library before school.

Emmylou Wilkes

Jocelin Flora (11) reads up on black history in the library before school.

Emmylou Wilkes

Emmylou Wilkes

Jocelin Flora (11) reads up on black history in the library before school.

Emmylou Wilkes, Staff Reporter

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For decades, February has been a month for celebrating black history. An African-American historian by the name of Carter G. Woodson is to thank for the implementation of this nationally recognized holiday. Before there was a Black History Month like the one celebrated today, there was a black history week, which Woodson created. Woodson, also known as the “Father of Black History,” made this week in February to include both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. Both men are considered to be a couple of the most revolutionary leaders in the abolitionist movement throughout history. This month was not nationally recognized until 1976 when President Gerald Ford expanded the week into the entire month of February and urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Black History Month has been celebrated every February since. There has been rising controversy on the topic of whether or not the holiday should be celebrated, despite its national acknowledgment. Some believe that the holiday is used as an excuse to ignore the cause every other month besides February. According to The Witness, some “…contend that we should celebrate Black history throughout the entire year. Setting aside only one month, they say, gives people license to neglect this past for the other 11 months.” Junior Kennedy Williams says that “I feel like black history is part of American history and it shouldn’t be restricted to only being celebrated in February.” She went on to say that if Americans as a whole attempted to learn more about, not only black history but the history of all cultures, “As a society, we can all unite and make a big difference because we will have a better understanding of each other.”

Wade Hampton High School is implementing the holiday in the school this year. Every morning during the announcements, the whole school is encouraged to participate in a Black History questionnaire. These questionnaires involve famous black people and their accomplishments throughout history. Some have been about inventors, others have been about political figures, all of which have brought about substantial progression to the American way of life. With this being said, what other things can the school, as well as America as a whole, do to further implement the education and celebration of black history into everyday life throughout the entire year?

About the Writer
Emmylou Wilkes, Staff Reporter

Emmylou Wilkes is a junior and a first year staff reporter. She loves reading and writing and listening to just about any kind of music there is (with...

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The History of Black History Month