Black History Month: a forgotten time

Written by Natalie Drouhard, design editor

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Starting on Feb. 1, the African American population is celebrated and celebrates others who struggled to achieve full citizenship in the United States. It started out as Negro History Week in 1926 that encompassed both Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays. According to the African American History Month website, the event started as a way to bring awareness to African Americans’ contributions to society. Instantly, Black History clubs sprung up, teachers fought harder for materials for their schools, and progressive whites endorsed the celebration.

As the years went by, the event became more and more a center of African American life and culture. By 1976, the week was expanded to a month. By this time most Americans had grown to accept the importance of black history in America.

Despite the continued efforts of some politicians and large amounts of American population supporting this month, quite a few still have a self-important counter to this month. A lot of times, white people will respond with “Well we don’t have a white history month.” This response, sadly, shows that people are not being taught the history as well as they should, or at the very least, not appreciating it because it is not wrapped around them.

Throughout the years, people have begun to care less and less about this time and stopped supporting it and instead, made jokes/arguments about how it shouldn’t exist. However, Black History Month is an important time for everyone and is overlooked and usually not taught or talked about in most schools. This causes the responsibility to be passed to parents, who also often fall short, unless they themselves are African American. Too many people do not appreciate the effect that African Americans have on society unless they are a musician, usually a rapper, or an athlete. This reason was the entire driving force behind the the cause for Black History Month.

It’s been 153 years since slavery was officially ended in the United States, 62 years since school segregation was called unconstitutional, and 53 years since black people were allowed to vote, according to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and people still think that they have nothing to celebrate or complain about. According to the United States Census Bureau white people make up 76.6 percent of the United States population and African Americans only make up 13.4 percent.

The United States has always been known for its diverse population, and so far only African Americans and Hispanics have designated times to be recognized and celebrate their battle for freedom in this country. I hope as the world progresses that more minorities in the States can feel celebrated, wanted, and happy to be in America, and that starts with us making the largest minorities in the US feel that way.