By Lyndsie Cox Black History Month is the month of the year where we, as Americans, reflect on one of the most important communities in history. The month of February influences people to take action against injustice and motivates us to promote equality. Although Black History Month is important for understanding America's history and commemorating those who have sacrificed in the fight for freedom, some people believe that Black History Month should not exist because black history should not only be condensed into one month. There are also arguments that propose a white history month. Even with all of these arguments regarding Black History Month, they do not negate the fact that there is still a constant need to reflect and understand the racial inequality our country faced throughout its history and the racial inequalities that still take place today.
Many media outlets and celebrities, such as Beyonce, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama heavily endorse Black History Month. These celebrities highlight the fight that the African-American community has been fighting for hundreds of years. Black Entertainment Television (BET) has a whole spread of Black History Month facts on their website. Marcus Simmons, a professor at North Park, expressed the importance of Black History Month. He acknowledged the fact that this month is vital because African-American culture is still misrepresented. He explained how it is about remembering and reflecting on the impact that African-Americans had on the Americas and their part in the "American Story."
While Black History Month makes an impact every year in the media, some public figures do not agree. Morgan Freeman did an interview with 60 Minutes about how he did not believe that black history should be limited to one month. He stated that he “…does not want a Black History Month. Black history is American history.”
Whenever Black History Month comes around there is usually people who ask the question, “Why isn’t there white history month?” The answer is simply that white history is taught all year round. White history is the default history in schools, and black history is often not incorporated or is an elective in most schools.
It is important to acknowledge black history because the contributions of these heroes are what made our country what it is today. While most celebrities love to celebrate black history during Black History Month, some celebrities, such as Stacey Dash, believe that there should be a white history month. Black History Month is not contributing to segregation in society, despite what Dash believes. Black History Month allows us to recognize the strength and empowerment behind black history, which would otherwise go unacknowledged.
Here at North Park, there are many ways for students to participate in Black History Month. Mr. Simmons expressed the many ways African-American students have played important roles in our community, stating "Black people played essential roles in the development of our current core identity language, the formation of many of our choirs, and black students were the first to initiate the first versions of some of our signature programming." He also spoke about how there is a lack in activity when it comes to people coming out to support the black culture here at North Park. Black History Month is an opportune time to show support and excitement for the African-American community at North Park.
The purpose of Black History Month is to educate and celebrate. The accomplishments that the black community has made definitely warrant a month to be celebrated. We need it in order for schools to teach their students about the importance of overcoming adversity, standing up for what one believes in, and coming together to support members of our community. Black History Month does not segregate rather it acknowledges how resilient members of our society can be.