The Wildcat Tribune

Black History Month explored

Colena Mau, News Editor

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Starting from just Negro History Week in 1926 established by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, Black History Month has now become widely celebrated throughout the United States, not just as the recognition of Africans or the African-Americans, but as the pride of their heritage as a whole.

“It’s all about promoting hope —  hope for a better tomorrow that springs from the lessons, the tears and the joys of what has gone before. It’s a hope that grows from understanding and from truth —  and from the power of love,” said Curtis May, director of the Office of Reconciliation Ministries, to Grace Communion International.

“To me, Black History Month is a celebration of a vital part of American history and culture. The African American community has contributed greatly to our country, and celebrating the achievements of this population is an inspiration to every American. February is a reminder of how individuals and whole populations can help change the world for the better,” responded Ms. McCombs, the advisor of Black Student Union. To celebrate, she plans to incorporate the music, poetry and art of the Harlem Renaissance into her lessons.

Black Student Union (BSU) President Jordan Turner stated, “Black History Month is a time to recognize all that African-Americans have done in the past to fight for their rights… so [it] is a time to celebrate how far they have come and all of their successes. My family and I always celebrate Black History Month by watching movies and TV documentaries about Black History and sometimes we even eat special meals that are traditional for African-American people.”

Kaleb McTear, BSU treasurer, stated that he celebrates Black History Month to pay tribute to those who paved the way for everyone’s equality and by visiting monuments and reading books or documentaries about Black history.

For similar reasons, however, some are also strongly against the celebration of Black History Month. According to debate.org, as of Feb. 2, 39% of commentators said yes to celebrating Black History Month, while the remaining 63% said no.

Many people also discourage the celebration of Black History Month and advocate for the ending of it as a whole for a variety of reasons. Morgan Freeman, one opposer, argues that it is not only “ridiculous” but an event that could support the idea of racism.

“You’re going to relegate my history to a month? … I don’t want a Black History Month. Black history is American history,” argued Freeman to Mike Wallace of CBS News.

Freeman responded that to eradicate racism, “I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man. I know you as Mike Wallace. You know me as Morgan Freeman.”

Vince Ei, from Spartan Daily, thinks that at this time in American history, Black History is no longer needed, as it is no longer “harmless” and “unobtrusive”, mainly due to the recent tweets, posts and blogs by various teenagers.

As his example, he quoted: “@catoelb: ‘I wonder why white people don’t have a white history month? Did we not do anything important? SMH.’”

“She too wondered about White History Month and claimed white people invented space travel, most medical advances and Ivy League universities to back up her demands. My first inclination is to laugh, but then … I fear for the future of civilization. These aren’t stereotypical conservatives ranting on social media platforms they barely know how to use; these are young people with developing minds,” added Ei. “Black History Month was never a pointless celebration, but I think that it sufficiently achieved its purpose that it sees an increase in its chances to do more harm than good.”

However, either way, Black History Month is rooted in a powerful meaning and symbolizes the history and achievements of their ancestors and role models to many people.  Its celebration continues in a multitude of places around the United States.

This year, San Francisco will host “I Have a Dream…” tours on the artists of African-American culture inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., “Sips With Soul” to celebrate African-American wine, food and music, “Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now” with a variety of dance classes, “African American Freedom Trail” tour, “Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)” which shows African history, art and culture from around the world, to name a few.

Farther south in California, Los Angeles also has several institutions that have set up events to celebrate, including: “A Tribute to African-American Authors”, “Bananas! — A Day in the Life of Josephine Baker”, the 13th annual “Aquarium of the Pacific” festival, “Pan African Film and Arts Festival” (the largest African American film festival in the U.S.) and “Target Sundays at CAAM (California African American Museum)” .

What with the upcoming Black History Month, many in the African American community have grown increasingly more dissatisfied with situations like those in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking protests all over the country.

“I am extremely frustrated by the current situation in the U.S. I feel that our country needs to examine the issues we have at home before we try to act like the leader of the free world. Minorities in this country are treated unjustly when applying for home loans or even just walking down the street. Everyone needs to work to stop this injustice because it doesn’t just negatively affect the African American community — it affects us all,” said Ms. McCombs.

“All of the Ferguson stuff that has been on the news lately has impacted the African American race as a whole so significantly,” states Turner. “So many young, African American men are getting killed just because of the color of their skin. It shouldn’t be a crime to be Black. Our president is Black. They deserve the same amount of respect as any other race. I believe that we are all created equal and people should not be judged by the color or their skin, their gender or anything like that.”

 

For more events and resources on Black History Month in California, visit:

  • www.sanfrancisco.travel
  • www.discoverlosangeles.com
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Black History Month explored