CityinThree

This is actually an article that was requested by one of my friends after we had a discussion about the controversy...

This is actually an article that was requested by one of my friends after we had a discussion about the controversy behind Black History Month. Questions such as, why should this month be celebrated or what is the use/meaning of this month always comes up when discussing about this topic.

First, I would like to give a little back story about the month, for reference. It was initially created by Sir Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week in 1926. He was a historian who dedicated the end of his life to do research on African American history to help African Americans give value to their history and non-blacks in America to get rid of their prejudicial thoughts.

Through his research he noted that the African-American contribution to America was extremely overlooked by writers of history textbooks and the teachers who taught them. For him, racial prejudice came from traditions because the Americans grew up with the education that blacks never contributed to the country (even if America was built on the free labor of slaves).

On February 1st, 1970, the Black United Students (BUS) and black educators at Kent State University founded Black History Month.

Although, BHM is for educational and celebratory purposes, many people still do not see the necessity of participating in the celebration of this month. Ask yourself how much you know about the impact of Black individuals/collectives and the impact of Black Culture in the world we know, today? For example, do you know who the inventor of the refrigeration machine used to transport blood, food, and medicine in WWII was? Do you know who the first mathematician and physicist who calculated the speed of the moon was? Do you know who the first Canadian woman that will appear on the 10$ bill this year, to honor her fight against racial discrimination in Canada is? All of these individuals are nameless to many of us although they are great part of the history of this world.

The lack of education on the participation of black individuals and black culture on the advancement of our world, not only affects other races, but its also tremendously affects the black community. A community who, for a long time, has been put down and diminished by society which caused a lot of black individuals to start to believe in the stereotypes that have been associated to us.

I can attest to that because as an Haitian woman, I never really understood the impact and the magnitude of the contribution of Haitians in the fight against slavery. I remember one day, when I was in second grade, this kid in my class targeted me for my black features and made me feel like shit. ​​​​​​When I had told my mom what happened, she told me: "you are Haitian and you should hold pride to that because our people fought for you to be able to sit beside your white counterparts and although people will never let you forget that you are just a nigga to them, be proud of our history".Obviously being only 7 years old, I never understood what it meant but I never forgot what she said.

 

 Now that I am older and that I have been educating myself on the history of my country and have been doing research on the African culture before slavery and colonization, I have taken a pride in my history and culture and it help me value my people, culture and traditions a lot more. It also has help me understand the provenance of the stereotypes attributed to black people.

With BHM coming to an end I hope everyone took time to reflect on their history and if you aren't part of the community then I hope that you are now more inclined to learn about the history of  black in your country and community, because black history is everyone's history.