Black History Month: A Time to Honor and Reflect

February is Black History Month, in order to honor and reflect on the history and struggles of African American’s in this country.

This is celebrated throughout February in order to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas.

Around this time of year, some people begin to question Black History Month, and argue that it is unnecessary.

However, Black History Month is an important tradition that deserves to be recognized and celebrated.

It is no secret that the majority of history we learn about in school is about white people, and the majority of literature we read in English classes was written by white people.

Of course many of these people made great accomplishments.

From Abraham Lincoln, to F. Scott Fitzgerald, American society would not be the same without their contributions.

However, Black History Month is our chance to acknowledge African Americans, the struggles they have faced in our country, and the accomplishments they have made.

It is our chance to focus on history that we do not often focus on.

Denali Bunker, a junior at Dimond, said, “It is important because, especially considering the current state of our country, it’s crucial that we do everything in our power to be inclusive, supportive, and help our fellow Americans and human beings feel empowered.”

She continued, “The life of African Americans in this country is still not easy. In a country so divided racially it’s incredibly important that we recognize and celebrate black history. It’s a way for non African Americans, to understand the culture and history of African Americans and its beauty, in a country where racism still exists. It’s a reminder for me to check my privilege, while celebrating something that deserves to be celebrated.”

Of course, a more thorough solution to this lack of diversity in education would be to incorporate more information not only on African Americans, but on women and other people of color, as well.

But for now, Black History Month is an important tradition to uphold.

Some people argue that it is unfair that there is a Black History Month. Why should there not be a white history month as well.

While the reasoning seems sound, a white history month would be superfluous.

The majority of history we are taught is about white people. In fact, one could argue that 11 to 12 months of the year are white history month.

Erin Moody, a junior at Dimond, said, “Throughout American history successes of white men and women have been celebrated within a school setting. Only in the last few decades have those made by African American individuals been acknowledged as well. It is important to teach that our country is great not from just what white men built but from what African Americans contributed as well.”

Furthermore the majority of the literature we read in school was written by white people.

Out of the seven books I have read so far this year in AP Language and Composition, only one of them has not been written by white people.

All of these books are wonderful and valuable pieces of writing but they lack diversity.

It is important to include diversity in learning, and Black History Month gives us the opportunity.

Black history month exists out of necessity, not out of special treatment.

Furthermore, people may say that there is less history surrounding African Americans, and that black history month is redundant.

This is simply not true. There are many significant African American figures in history such as Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Ida B. Wells and many more.

It is important to Acknowledge the accomplishments of these people.

Frederick Douglas was an avid abolitionist and was a contributing factor to the abolition of slavery.

Harriet Tubman helped free over 300 slaves through the Underground Railroad.

Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks were important leaders through the Civil Rights Movement.

Ida B. Wells was not only an advocate for women’s suffrage, but also led an anti-lynching crusade through the 1900’s.

It is also important to acknowledge the struggles that African Americans have had to face in our country.

From slavery, to Jim Crow laws, to segregations, to mass incarceration, the disenfranchisement of African Americans has been a common theme throughout American history.

It is important students are taught about these struggles so that they can acknowledge their privilege, and view the world with a more diverse insight.

Black History Month is important to celebrate, and sometimes it is worth taking the time to remind everybody why.