Black History Month: My Perspective

February is usually a quiet month, outside of the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and the Oscars, which is airing as I write this post. It’s also American Heart Month, which reminds me–I need to start working out. Can’t be a good writer sitting around the house all day. Need to exercise every once in a while.

And, lest we forget, February is Black History Month. Originally started as “Negro History Week,” coinciding with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, Carter G. Woodson, an African-American historian, came up with this concept in order for public schools to teach the history of black Americans; their accomplishments and struggles. Though initially not welcomed, Woodson pushed through, and thanks to some black students from Kent University in 1976, “Negro History Week” became what we know today.

I have to admit that I did not know about the history behind Black History Month. It was something the schools rarely talked about. (Thank goodness for the Internet.) I feel a bit ashamed being an African-American, not knowing those facts. All that was ever discussed were the struggles of men and women  like Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass, and the accomplishments of Muhammad Ali and Eli Whitney.

And yet, I feel like one month to celebrate all that African-Americans have done for this country isn’t enough. There are so many African-Americans pioneers who have contributed to the advancements of American society, and many who are pioneers today in the fields of science, technology, athletics, business, literature, healthcare and the like. I can’t begin to name those individuals, but I believe they are out there. And that’s only in America. There are individuals outside the states that deserve recognition. Where do we put them in the grand scheme?

Don’t take this as an angry black man rant. I just feel like I’ve been living in the dark about my heritage and my upbringing. Not that I’m of royal descent or anything of that nature. I just want to learn more about who I am and want to be able to pass on a legacy to my children. I want them to learn as much as they can about who they are and the people who made great strides for them to enjoy what they have and not take them for granted.

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Author: G. R. McNeese

I'm originally from Illinois, currently residing in Georgia. I graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing. I am blessed with a supportive wife and family.

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