Black History Month – Again?
2nd February 2016
You might wonder why Black History month is being celebrated again – assuming you knew! Well, this is the American celebration started initially by the African American historian Carter G. Woodson as Black History Week in 1926. February was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of the black abolitionist and former slave, Frederick Douglass, and Abraham Lincoln, and it became a month-long celebration in 1976. What is remembered in this month, and how Black History is presented, becomes increasingly problematic. It often seems to be little more than the celebration of great black men (and women) – usually a re-telling of the events leading up to the Montgomery bus boycott or an account of the life of Martin Luther King. Perhaps this is inevitable, but black history is also about the voiceless masses, the many who endured silently, or who resisted in a myriad of different ways – some of them cultural. Not all of this can be covered in a month – and to simply place black history (or women’s history for that matter) into a neatly measured time-span of a month, or week, is in itself absurd. By now black history should be incorporated into mainstream (white) history. Perhaps Black History month has had its day? Journalist Gary Younge has, as usual, something provocative to say on this subject – https://twitter.com/garyyounge/status/694156499640147968.
Worth reading and thinking about whether in the USA or UK.