The Significance of February: Celebrating the Hidden History of African Americans

Ma’Kayla Hunter
Staff Writer

PC: Flickr

If there is one thing to remember about African Americans, it should be their countless contributions to America. This can be reflected through their culture, labor, information and knowledge. Through decades, African Americans have found themselves as originators, creatives and revolutionizers. However, with such a rich history, it is difficult to find any proper teachings of these advancements within the educational system. Instead, there are greater focuses upon events that depict a whitewashed recollection of history.

In my own personal experiences, I remember receiving the basics of black history. Most of this included the era of slavery, monumental figures such as Fredrick Douglas, and light coverage on varied narratives regarding black individuals documenting their experiences within America. Though this information is important, there was never a full depiction that presented the true struggles and sacrifices that these individuals had to make. As I have grown older, I have learned more information regarding black history through social media instead of the public educational system. For example, I had no idea there was an area in Tulsa referred to as “The Black Wall Street,” which held a city of established African Americans. In addition to learning about this treasure, I quickly was informed that this city was destroyed due to racial discrimination of their progress. Even though history isn’t always pretty, it is essential that people are aware and understanding of such events. With valuable information being stripped from students learning, it becomes extremely difficult for individuals to understand just how important this culture is to society.

Because of the lack of information being taught, it then places the responsibility upon the individual to learn more. For me, most of my information came from my family and friends. Even this information may often be biased or not in full. Therefore, it is also vital to be cautious of the information you receive and make sure to double-check to confirm validity. With the process it takes to learn such vast history, it adds significant purpose to celebrating Black History Month in February.

Since Black History Month occurs every year, I believe people have begun to lose touch with the importance of this month. With this lack of opportunities to learn, it is important that citizens take advantage of Black History Month. With this month being a national holiday, it causes citizens to acknowledge and gain further education on the contributions of African Americans. Some of these contributions include hairstyles, musical ideals including the contributions to Rock and Roll, and even everyday items such as lights. This holds the utmost importance because of the intricate relationship that this community has had with America. Because of the injustices that African Americans have faced within this country, it only makes sense to celebrate their accomplishments when odds were so heavily against them. With this in mind, it is vital that February is taken as a month to celebrate and submerge ourselves in a culture that has had such a dominant influence in American life.



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