Starting in 1970, Black History Month was established to acknowledge the neglected accomplishments of black Americans. It serves as the time to remember and educate ourselves on the black individuals that contributed to the growth of this country, but since then, the month has been white-washed and knocked down by the ignorant. However, with the recent uprise of the “Black Lives Matter Movement”, many of the black communities allies are ready to contribute to Black History Month, but with that, it is important to remember the following:
Black History is Not Just Slavery
While slavery is behind a majority of the issue black people face today, Black History was not created to revisit the trauma and discrimination the community faces. It was instead established to celebrate America’s history of black excellence, while also getting to know those that have paved the way to where we are now.
Listen & Uplift Black Voices
The silencing of black voices has been an issue for hundreds of years, but more recently there has been an issue of allies “outspeaking” black voices when it comes to talking about the black experience, so it is important to remember that when a black person is speaking about their experiences, we need to listen. There is no better way to educate ourselves. Also use this as a time to support and uplift local black businesses, artists, authors, singers, and more.
LGBTQ+ History is Also Black History
There has been an erasure of black LGBTQ+ individuals that fought for black rights as well as LGBTQ+ rights. They deserve the same amount of acknowledgment and respect for the work they have done and there is no better time to do that then during Black History Month.
Acknowledge ALL Black History
When someone mentions “white-washed history” they are usually referring to the repeated black history we are taught in school, which is usually MLK, Rosa Park, or the Montgomery bus boycotts. The story we often hear about them is not only downplayed but also a repetitive half-true cycle, that we need to get out of. There have been hundreds of influential black activists, inventors, singer-songwriters, and more, so we need to make it our goal to learn the whole-hearted truth about their contribution.
Do Not Compare
America has made great strides to racial equality, but we should not let that progress cloud the fact that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done today. Comparing the rights black Americans had 400 years ago versus now is not only offensive, but that mindset also downplays the experiences of black Americans.