As we have all heard from mainstream media, it is Black History Month and we must all celebrate, but why? Why must there be a whole month, and ironically the shortest month of the year, to celebrate Black American history and what is Black American history?
I am a white male who grew up in a small town of mostly white Americans along with classmates all throughout school who were also mostly white. Most of the teachers I had were white teachers who were teaching mostly white students.
Even though this was the case, in all of my history classes growing up from at least fourth grade up, we were taught all about Black American history without straying away from American history as a whole.
When we look back into American history, we see a nation that was founded by white settlers who treated a race of Natives poorly and fought them and killed them for their land. This was the history of the founding of the land we call the United States of America.
We could teach this to be a “shame on the white man”, but instead we teach this in a way that the white man only did exactly what the Natives who were in the land were already doing to one another.
Fast forward a few years and we see Black people sold by their own race and brought into the country to be sold into slavery in this nation. The nation as a whole, for the most part, found slavery of the Black race to be a norm in this country.
This was wrong, but it is how it was, and that is how it has been taught in schools all over the nation for years. The emphasis on these times in history has never strayed from the evils of racial discrimination and slavery that was so universally ignored.
During the years of slavery, we see many historical figures such has Harriet Tubman, for an example, who fought to get out of slavery and then turned the fight to be for others who were entrapped by slavery too. This helped lead to the Civil War, which was fought by white Americans in the North along with Black Americans who fought to get themselves out of slavery.
This war was fought unified as two races of people and won the same way. Victory in the Civil War was owned by both Black and white Americans.
Going further in time, we still see racism within our nation by many as segregation was extremely popular, especially in the southern states. There were people of color such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks who fought for equal rights.
Their voices were heard as they did a lot of good to fight against segregation in this country. There was a unification between all Americans, black and white, and a victory won for Black Americans by both races unifying together.
The history of this great nation shows the strength that we have when we all fight for the greater good. When we teach American history as it was, then we accomplish teaching against racism and the endurance that the Black Americans had during all of these events as well as the importance of unification and the ending of all segregation.
When we teach it as “Black history” it segregates the history of Black America from all that was done in American history and the white people who also fought against the same things taught about in Black History Month.
The great thing of our nation’s history is not about just one race, but it is the strength our nation has to overcome all obstacles together and create the equality that we have today.
There is no need for a Black History Month when we should be constantly teaching and learning about the history of our fellow Black Americans through the story of American history taught correctly.