Black History Month should be celebrated year round

Each year, people around the nation anxiously wait for February to roll around to celebrate the triumphs in black history. For this one month, stores across America advertise Black History Month sales, the History Channel runs dozens of specials about the Civil Rights Movement and teachers gear class discussions toward the topic of significant African-American figures.

Although it is crucial to educate people everywhere about the importance of Black history, we don’t need to designate just one month to acknowledge it anymore. Not only have we separated black history from American history, but this month is often used as an excuse to ignore important Black figures the rest of the year. Separating Black history from American history also discredits the many contributions African Americans have made to our country.

A recent article by Shane Wade in the Commonwealth Times said, “It is nonsense to devote a separate month to a conjoined history. The best method of teaching history is to teach it as a chronological, inclusive story. Not as segmented parts divisible for monthly discussion.”

Slavery and the fight for civil rights are two of the most vital aspects of American history. During these struggles, African Americans contributed greatly to business and the economy. Relegating one month out of the year to acknowledge this is undermines this fact and redivides the nation.

Carter G. Woodson, a Black historian, established Negro History Week in 1926 as a way to bring hope and self-worth to African Americans during their struggle for equality. It wasn’t until 1976 that this celebration was expanded and renamed as Black History Month. Today, however, Black History Month is not as effective as it once was. Using February to celebrate black history may be more important for those who were alive during the Jim Crow era, but there is now a generation gap.

Although the proposal to end Black History Month will likely offend those who have lived through segregation, African Americans may benefit from its demise. Since America is known as a land of diversity, it is crucial to recognize the struggles each race has gone through. Having a Black History Month does not integrate America’s complete cultural history.

Actor Morgan Freeman has pushed to eliminate Black History Month for years, claiming that it only encourages racism. He says that in order to beat racism, we need to simply “stop talking about it” and avoid identifying people as “Black” and “White.”

There is no longer a need to have one month dedicated to any particular race. The role Black history has played in America is far too monumental to be watered down 11 months out of the year. Since each nationality has in some way played a significant role in our society, they deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated equally.