Black History Month ; a time of remembrance and celebration

Evalyne Simpson, Feature's editor

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February is Black History Month, which is a month dedicated to remembering the important contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout the nation’s history. America has been recognizing Black History Month annually since 1962.

Black History Month grew out of Negro History Week. Negro History Week was created by Carter G. Woodson, an African American scholar, historian, and writer. In 1976, it became a month long celebration. February was chosen because it coincides with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

February is all about honoring African Americans and giving them the recognition they deserve. They have contributed to society in many ways over the years and shouldn’t be overlooked. It gives people an opportunity to learn about the Civil Rights Movement and black history in general.  Everyone has heard of MLK, but there are so many more leaders that aren’t so well known. It’s important to learn their names and understand their impact.

In the 1900’s, blacks began the fight for their right and freedoms. The Civil Rights Movement began in 1954 and ended in 1968. People like MLK, Malcolm X, Ella Baker, and Rosa Parks were some of the key leaders of the movement. After the Civil Rights Movement,  African Americans were considered equal but still had to face hate and discrimination. Over the years, things have improved substantially for African Americans. They are now play an important role in society and aren’t viewed as outcasts.

African Americans have benefited society in countless ways. They are now our actors, musicians, politicians, authors, and so much more. If I asked you to name your favorite singer or musician I bet at least half of you would name an African American. They are credited with inventing two of the most popular musical styles, hip hop and rap. From Louis Armstrong to Beyonce, American music simply wouldn’t be the same without black influence.

      There are many notable and influential African American authors. One of the most accredited black authors was Zora Neale Hurston. Mrs. Chows says, “If I could choose any historical figure to have lunch with I would chose  Zora Neale Hurston. She was an amazing author. She had to deal with prejudice because she was not only black, she was also a woman.” Other notable black authors include, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Toni Morrison.

    African Americans also play a role in politics. Black political representation hasn’t always been good, but it’s getting better. As of right now, 55 African Americans are serving in the House of Representatives and 2 are serving in the Senate. That’s not a whole lot of representation, but Congress is continuing to diversify. Our first black president, Barack Obama, did a lot for black representation . Seeing him and his family lead the nation inspired people and made them feel seen. His wife, Michele Obama, is a huge inspiration to African Americans and women all over the country. Mrs. Chow and a few other English teachers here at MASH got to see her speak. Mrs. Chow explains, “It was a great experience. It was amazing to listen to her speak, she is just so inspiring.” She also has an new autobiography out called, Becoming Michelle Obama.

One way you can learn about influential African Americans is by visiting museums. The National Museum of African American History and Culture is in Washington D.C. There is also an African American History Museum in Philadelphia. If you don’t want to visit a museum you could research black history online or read books about it. You could find tons of great information by just doing a google search.

Historically speaking, America has been less than kind towards African Americans. They have had to face all kinds  adversities, but they found the strength to overcome them. That’s what this month is all about. It’s about celebrating the progress African Americans have made and how they have contributed to society.