“I’m Just Sayin'” Blog Black History Month Post
February 23, 2015
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I was bused to a school in Gerritsen Beach in Brooklyn in 1972. I was one of the first black kids in the history of the school.
Comedian Chris Rock used to make fun how White America finally showed respect to Black Americans by giving them the shortest month of the year to celebrate their achievements. It had nothing to do with February being the shortest month. It had to do with author, scholar, historian and professor, Carter Godwin Woodson who designed Negro History Week in 1926 to coincide with the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln (February 12) and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, circa, February 1818. Originally, it was the campus group the Black United Students at Kent State University, in 1969 that championed to change the event from a week to a full month. In 1976, the United States government made the official and national change from Negro History Week to Black History Month. The late president, Gerald Ford agreed to the modification. He said, that everyone should “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history." Amen to that.
Let’s be real. Black history is American history. One can’t exist with the other. Woodson dedicated his life on black historical research. He was the second black man, W.E.B. Du Bois was first, to receive his PhD in history at Harvard University in 1912. He later taught at Howard University. Education was his life’s work up until the day he died at age 74 on April 3, 1950, while working on the Encyclopedia Africana. The “father of black history” was the most dedicated and hardworking intellectuals making sure that the contributions of black people will not be erased in conversations, lectures and especially the classrooms. But, I’m just sayin’.
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