Diversifying the Society: Why is Black History Month Important

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Table of Contents

  • The Father of the Black History
  • Black History Month Promotes Cultural Diversity
  • Black History Month Promotes Racial Harmony

Four hundred years ago, after being trafficked several times by human traffickers, 19 black slaves arrived on the American continent for the first time. Today in 2019, people commemorate them by celebrating the Black History Month. Is Black History Month necessary? I think the answer is yes, Black History Month is necessary.

The Father of the Black History

For decades, it is widely considered that black people did not have much history except Slavery, till now, much of the growing recognition of the true place of the black people in history can be attributed to one man, Carter G. Woodson.

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Carter Godwin Woodson (Dec. 19, 1875 – Apr. 3 1950) was an historian, and the co-founder of the “Association for the Study of Negro Life and History”. He grew up in a rural family in Virginia, his parents James Woodson and Eliza Riddle Woodson were slaves released after the American Civil War. In ordered to attend a new high school for black students then under construction, the Woodson family moved to Huntington, West Virginia. However, Carter’s application for admission was rejected.

Although his family cannot afford his tuition, deep down in the young Woodson’s mind, he knew that how important it was to receive a proper education in his efforts to secure and make the best use of his sacred freedoms. He started to teach himself English, Math and chemistry. He didn't start formal education until he was 20, thought his own intelligence and efforts, He received a bachelor of arts degree from Berea College in Kentucky and an honorary degree from the University of Chicago. In 1912, he earned his PhD in history at Harvard University in 1912, where he was the second African-American to receive a PhD. In the bottom of Woodson’s heart, he truly believed that the role of our own people in American and other cultural history is ignored or misrepresented by scholars, so in 1915, inspired by his time in Chicago, he founded the African American Life and History Research Association, which aims to formalize the past education of adults and their country.

In 1926, Woodson launched a celebration of 'Negro History Week', which corresponds to the birthdays of Frederick Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. US president Gerald Ford has designated February as Black History Month since 1976.

Black History Month Promotes Cultural Diversity

For a long time, white people dominated the art world. Black artists often go unnoticed and even get isolated by racists. In the eyes of those racists, we black people should work on someone’s farmland, in someone’s kitchen, or someone’s flowerbeds, rather than painting, writing poems, songs and scripts at our own house. At that time, no talented black musician could be as famous as Elvis Presley, no talented actress could play the leading role in a movie like Marilyn Monroe do, and no talented painter could hang their art works in the Wadsworth Atheneum like Stuart Davis do.

With the start of the Black History Week celebration, the works of black artists begin get wide attention, they make art of our own race in an era full of white man’s art. The success of Jacob Lawrence, James Brown, Sidney Poitiers, and others injected a different color into the art world at that time.

James Brown, a progenitor of funk music Sidney Poitier is a Bahamian-American and a major figure of 20th century music  actor and film director. He received two and dance, he is often referred to as the nominations for the Academy Award for 'Godfather of Soul' and 'Soul Brother Best Actor, winning one, the first black No. 1'. In a career that lasted over 50 years, actor to win that award. He influenced the development of several.

Black History Month Promotes Racial Harmony

As a black woman, I represent a group of people that has been repeatedly robbed of expression. Most history books are written by white people, the efforts of our fellow citizens are often not valued. Except for slavery and apartheid, our children know nothing about the history of black people. Through the Black History Month, the voice of our race is getting louder and louder, more and more brothers and sisters are proud of their skin color, more and more people who is not white are willing to talk about their ethnic experience. People will peak up for oppressed people of all colors, they have the guts to complain about the phenomenon of racial discrimination.

In a jungle society where egoism prevails, in those Social Darwinists’ mind, they are born strong, they can easily succeed, and other races are destined to fail. Those Social Darwinists ignore the fact that other races can only succeed if they overcome layers of obstacles. When vulnerable groups speak up or get attention, they will use 'political correctness' to blame the weak. Maybe some of them will think that Black History Month is too “politically correct”. I strongly disagree, I think the abuse and over-vigilance of 'political correctness' has made us blind to the substantive discrimination faced by vulnerable groups. We have talked enough about the topic of 'Political Discrimination', but the issues of equality and pluralism are not summarized by the term 'political correctness'.

Black History Month can be an opportunity to educate every people, no matter what race they are. You and I together, we must stand up to expose and criticize systematic discrimination relentlessly.

In the end, let me quote what Japanese writer Haruki Murakami said at the Jerusalem Literature Awards 2009: “Each of us is, more or less, an egg. Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable soul enclosed in a fragile shell. This is true of me, and it is true of each of you. And each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, is confronting a high, solid wall. The wall has a name: it is “The System.” The System is supposed to protect us, but sometimes it takes on a life of its own, and then it begins to kill us and cause us to kill others--coldly, efficiently, systematically.”

“We are all human beings, individuals transcending nationality and race and religion, and we are all fragile eggs faced with a solid wall called The System. To all appearances, we have no hope of winning. The wall is too high, too strong--and too cold. If we have any hope of victory at all, it will have to come from our believing in the utter uniqueness and irreplaceability of our own and others’ souls and from our believing in the warmth we gain by joining souls together.”

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