OPINION: Black History Month is still important

Austin Belet, Opinons Writer

For many of us, Black History Month was the normal February routine: our elementary school would bring out pictures of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. and explain to us the exceptional impact their legacies have on our lives now. The reality is that most of our parents saw the creation of Black History Month.

Beginning in 1970 as an expansion of the already established Negro History Week (which was initially the second week of February), Black History Month was established by the “father of black history,” Carter Woodson. He intended on celebrating the culture and history that existed within the African American community, lest we forget the contributions they have made to modern history.

When we consider Black History, we have to consider it as a precursor to movements that followed it; be it suffrage, stonewall, or intersectionality. Without leaders who were willing to step up and speak out against inhuman and unjust treatment of misrepresented peoples, there is no feasible way we could have made the social progress we have. We would still be drinking from separate water fountains and purchasing food from different stores. It was their activism that led to the Supreme Court reversing the Dred Scott decision that led to a modern conversation about Emmett Till, which in turn paved the way for American to welcome its first black president not but 44 years after the ratification of the Civil Rights Act.

African Americans and Caribbean Americans have contributed countless innovations and leadership to our country. Be it arts by way of Maya Angelou, the Temptations, or James Weldon Johnson; science of Mae C. Jemison, James West, or George Washington Carver; or activism from Harriet Tubman, Fredrick Douglass, or Malcolm X. We are so grateful for everything the black community has contributed to our country.

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