The truth behind Black History Month


Know Your Meme

As February comes to an end, it’s important to know the significance of the month, to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of black figures.

February is almost at its end, which means Black History Month is nearing its end as well. Hopefully, you’ve noticed that February is Black History Month, and is recognized as such every year in the United States. What started out as a mere week to acknowledge black excellence has turned into something much greater over a few decades.

In 1915 historian Carter G. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

In the decades that followed, city mayors across the country began recognizing Negro History Week yearly, and with growing awareness (and the Civil Rights Movement) Negro History Week evolved into Black History Month. Since 1976, every U.S. president has designated February as Black History Month.

Usually, when Black History Month rolls around each year, some people often ask why there isn’t a white history month. The answer is simple: every month is white history month. Rather than asking why there isn’t a white history month, people should be asking why there is a Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Asian Heritage Month, etc.

Recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of marginalized people during designated months does not mean the achievements of white figures in history are insignificant. It only means that these months allow a sense of representation for these figures and groups of people whose accomplishments would probably have gone otherwise unnoticed.

Sophomore Mason Stewart-Carothers agrees that Black History Month is an important part of the year, and has a direct effect on him. “My dad’s side of the family is African-American, so Black History Month is pretty important to me. I think it’s important to acknowledge Black history and so much that African-Americans have done.”

Black History Month doesn’t take anything away from white people, nor does it mean white people are not special. February is a vital celebration of Black achievements that would likely otherwise go unrecognized. So, keep in mind what this month truly means. Stay educated, and next February, don’t ask why there isn’t a white history month. Instead, join in on the celebration of Black accomplishments.