Should We “Scrap” Black History Month? Part 1: A Question Posed by Cynthia Tucker, Reporter
Cynthia Tucker, a reporter, wrote in an article titled, “Scrap Black History Month,” that the celebration of black history and contributions is “quaint, old fashioned like a rotary dial telephone, or rabbit ears on a television set.” She stated that Black History month is no longer needed because of the achievements we have made as a people, such as being able stay at major hotels without discrimination; we have black Cabinet secretaries and black baseball players. I suppose that since lynching is at an all-time low, Tucker is convinced that Black History Month is unnecessary.
Unfortunately, history in all its forms have too frequently omitted black people or removed the accomplishments of black people. An example would be the ‘thinkers’ that cannot understand that Egyptians were not blue eyed blonde people, or that Egypt is on the African Continent.
Going to the source, Carter G. Woodson, who founded Black History Week in 1926, taught that possessing knowledge carries with it the obligation to share it and use it to the advancement of good in the world. He used his life sharing knowledge to empower his people, imparting historical information to increase their consciousness. Woodson also wanted to critique and correct white racist consciousness, and its self-congratulatory conceptions.
While Turner does state in her article that certain transformative subjects like the Civil War or Reconstruction are not being taught honestly in our schools, she feels that in the age of Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey, and President Obama we don’t need Black History. That is precisely why we need Black History; our children need to learn that our history did not start with enslavement. They need to be taught the truth about our rich ancient history, as well as our discoveries and inventions.
In a perfect world, all history would be integrated, like shuffling a deck of cards, and there would just be “history.” Until American History includes black people in their history books, we will investigate, write, and teach our own in addition to theirs.
We cannot allow others to tell our stories, and we must continue to monitor the textbooks that often try to change history and make enslavement sound like a vacation with free room and board.
For the past 80 years we have celebrated the accomplishments of African Americans, perhaps in 80 more years we will not need it because it will have been incorporated with American History. Until then, thank Carter G. Woodson.
SUBMITTED BY: Sharon Smith-Knight
Karenga, Maulana. “Dr. Maulana Karenga Writes on the Legacy of Carter G. Woodson.” Available at Yourblackworld.net, no date. Web. Retrieved 24 Jul. 2017.
Tucker, Cynthia. “Scrap Black History Month.” Press Enterprise, 11 Feb. 2009, C9.
SUBJECTS: Black History Month; Black History Week; Woodson, Carter Godwin, 1875-1950.
*Photograph of Carter G. Woodson. Retrieved from http://nextcenturyforparks.org/tag/dr-carter-g-woodson/. Accessed 20 Aug. 2017.