Black History Month, celebrated annually in the month of February, is an observance of the many achievements of Black Americans and the essential role that Black Americans have held in history. Historian Carter G. Woodson is credited with bringing the celebration into existence; it began with his creation of ‘Negro History Week,’ which was launched on Feb. 7, 1926.
Since its conception, the observance has morphed into an event spanning the month of February. From 1976 forward, each United States President has officially designated the month as Black History Month. Several other countries, including the United Kingdom and Canada, also have months devoted to recognizing Black History.
Throughout Black History Month, the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) holds a number of events dedicated to the celebration. The week of Feb. 17 – Feb. 21 includes presentations sponsored by the Office of Intercultural Engagement, and currently, they are hosting the 2020 Conference on African American and African Diasporic Cultures and Experience (CACE). Students are invited to get involved and share their stories in a setting that encourages reclaiming a historic narrative that has long been dictated by the structural racism that still permeates American society.
In addition to events on campus, sophomore Political Science and Sociology major Cameron Farrar has created another type of movement—an Instagram story series in honor of Black history that spotlights a number of events, concepts and people. The series first began in 2019 and Farrar has carried it into 2020. Farrar was interviewed about the series, and spoke about his feelings regarding the importance of recognizing and honoring Black history beyond Black History Month.
“Black history is not just a month, and it’s not just history for black people,” said Farrar. “Black history is made every day and it is wildly underappreciated. As a nation, we have allowed racism to dictate how the American population teaches and views Blackness. Our lack of publicized accomplishments doesn’t mean we aren’t trailblazers—it means we are still breaking glass ceilings, still shaking the table, and still stepping into rooms with confidence even if we had to defy every one of the odds to get there.”
Farrar posts a new installment each night on his Instagram story throughout the month of February.
“It was the last day of Jan. 2019 when I heard a white woman use the n-word,” said Farrar when asked about the inspiration for the posts. “I was infuriated because time and time again I found myself explaining to someone why that word is to never come from non-black lips.”
“It was that day that I realized a deeper issue. Aside from blatant racism and intentional prejudice, there is also a major educational failure when it comes to teaching Black history and Black excellence. Either we have been completely lied to or uninformed entirely.”
The day after this interaction was the first day of Black History Month and by then, Farrar had brainstormed a subject for each day of February, spanning underrecognized Black people to concepts in need of being addressed.
“This year, I was eager to touch on new subjects,” said Farrar. “The engagement I got last year was amazing, but because I now have a wider following on Instagram, the numbers of positive interactions and conversations I’ve had with people online have nearly tripled.”
Farrar displayed inspiring enthusiasm about the direction the project has gone in, and shared more about the open flow of conversation that has been fostered through his Instagram project.
“I have been able to have eye opening conversations about voting in the Black community, supporting Black businesses, Black historical events and accomplished Black people. It has been so much fun, and even though it isn’t much, it is a start in conversing openly about Black accomplishments in multiple spaces,” said Farrar.
To tune in to Farrar’s daily story updates throughout the month of February, follow him @camm.farrar on Instagram.