Every February in the USA is observed as Black History Month. This month is set-aside for the country to celebrate the many contributions made by African-Americans towards the betterment of this nation, specifically, and to the improvement of the quality of life for all humanity, in general. It is a time of reflection, contemplation and jubilation. However, it wasn’t always the case.
For many generations, African-American history was simply passed down by word of mouth as in many states it was forbidden to teach Black citizens to read and write. Actually, for almost a century after The Declaration of Independence, most of the Black people living here were enslaved and had no rights or legal protections under the law. They weren’t thought of as citizens and rarely as human beings.
The American Civil War, in theory, changed that situation. Slavery ended and citizenship was bestowed on African-Americans. However, servitude was soon replaced by legal segregation and oppression and the newly achieved freedoms were just as quickly denied as “Jim Crow” laws sought to repress any hint of equality between the races.
It wasn’t until after World War II that the Black citizens were able to begin the struggle for full reinstatement of both their civil and human rights. It wasn’t until recent times that the nation’s schools began to teach of the important and numerous accomplishments that African-Americans offered to this history of the USA and of the contributions and sacrifices in fighting for the freedom of democracy.
Many Americans complain about the focus on African-Americans during the month of February. They argue that Black History Month is no longer necessary given that barriers to equality no longer exist. I counter their claims against the necessity of Black History Month. As long as a Black Lives Matter movement gains support, as long as the overwhelming majority of top-level government appointments are almost exclusively White citizens, as long as an entire political party can openly and repeatedly disrespect the sitting U. S. President simply because he’s Black and as long as there are the Dylan Roof-like murderers who freely advocate hatred and violence towards people just because of their race, the Black History Month is not only necessary, it is imperative.