Is Black History Month Still Relevant? PRO/con
February 15, 2012
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We all need an escape once in a while. For some, an escape is a hobby. For others it may simply be time with family. For African Americans, February is an escape. It’s a journey away from the negativity that plagues the community year around. It’s a journey into a rich, diverse culture which is often left unexposed.
Even if for only 28 days, it’s a month unlike any other. For in these few days, African-Americans are not simply hearing about how far black people have fallen behind, rather, they are hearing about how far black people have come.
In these few days, African Americans are not only ballers, rappers, or gangsters. Rather they are men, women and children who have overcome the greatest odds.
They are a people who have marched thousands of miles to have their voices heard. They are a people who gave their lives so their children can have a life. They are dreamers, inventors, lovers, scholars.
In these few days, African-Americans are black and proud. We rise and rise and rise.
For the dreamers of today, February is often an introduction to the dreamers of yesterday. It is an introduction to a better path, to a bigger picture, to a higher standard.
February is a journey back home. It is an exposure to a rich culture, which often appears nonexistent although it is a common bond shared among people of all African descent. It is a reminder of the greatest atrocity mankind has ever seen and a chance to meet the heroes who overcame such a tragedy.
Unlike in any other time, African-Americans come together to celebrate and to seek solutions. Topics of all kind are raised. Young men are reminded of the value of women. Young women are led on a quest to become brighter, stronger, and more independent.
Unlike any other time, there is light shed on black history. We are exposed to a history that goes even beyond Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. We are led to a history that goes back to the Ethiopians, who still hold some of the greatest structures built in the history of Earth’s existence. We meet the Egyptians, who are in fact black and responsible for shaping our thinking today.
Little known heroes also come alive in these few days. Stories of Medgar Evers, John Carlos, Tommie Smith , Ruby Bridges and four little girls killed in the midst of prayer are suddenly brought forward.
A culture sometimes diluted reveals its true colors during the month of February. Powerful words of Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou echo throughout the month. The sweet sounds and inspirations of James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson are celebrated.
The festivities alone are designed to propel us forward. The colors, songs, sounds, and dances are to remind us that black is beautiful. And as black people from all over come together to eat and laugh together, we see beauty in diversity.
We see there is no shame in our hair, no shame in our color, no shame in where we come from. We see that our role models are not ones who perpetuated the stereotypes and detained us from a brighter future. Rather they are men and women who gave precedent to our values.
Young African Americans displays their talents in special events across the nation. Simultaneously we are reminded that black is not synonymous with inferiority. The voices of aspiring poets and singers are clearly heard. Powerful messages are spread, dreams are relived, dreams are created. The only thing left to do is to celebrate even as the calendar turns.