Black History Month was originally Negro History Week celebrated the second week of February founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, NAACP leader and historian, in 1926. His purpose of this week was not to celebrate “Negro history but the Negro in history.” Dr. Woodson picked February because of the two birthdays of people that fought for slaves’ freedom: Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas. In 1976, it was expanded to the whole month of February. Since then this month has been used to reflect back upon the achievements of black people.
To be honest, I cannot watch too many clips of the marches or demonstrations of the freedom fighters. When I see them being attacked by the dogs or water hoses being sprayed at them, my chest starts to tighten. It brings up a lot of anger because they were not asking for much, just to be treated with dignity. But what I do like about this month is all the speakers. I could be showing a little favoritism but the University of Central Arkansas (my alma mater) has the best Black History Month speakers. They have had Soledad O’Brien, Malcom Jamal Warner, Martin Luther King, III, and Spike Lee to name a few. This year they will have Afeni Shakur-Davis, former Black Panther and mother of legendary and controversial rapper Tupac Shakur (I will be in attendance). It is always cool to hear the stories behind the speakers even if I do not necessarily agree with their message. It is always cause of good conversations with my girls.
I advise you to find some speakers this month that tickle your fancy and hear what they have to say. Or go to a museum or program and learn a little something. I pretty sure there will be more than enough activities to participate in the next month.