Why Does Black History Month Matter?
Posted by Dafni Kalatzi Pantera on 2021-10-19
In 1926, Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History”, sent out a press release to mark the first Black History Week in the US. After 1970 the event was expanded, and since 1976 every US president has officially designated February as Black History Month in the US. This particular month was chosen on purpose because it coincides with the births of former President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas – who escaped slavery and became a key social activist. Today many countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, devote a month to celebrating Black History.
Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements of black figures in every area of endeavour throughout history. People from African and Caribbean backgrounds have been a fundamental part of British and international history. However, their value and contribution to society is often overlooked, ignored, or distorted. Most schools still teach a history curriculum that focuses on traditional events and achievement of white figures. Black History Month gives everyone the opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black culture and heritage. Black History Month however is not only about learning parts of history that are forgotten and ignored, it is part of an ongoing universal human rights campaign against racism.
Unfortunately, racism is one of the most severe problems of our time, and events like the murder of George Floyd prove that racism is not a figment of people’s imagination. Collectively with the Black Lives Matter movement, Black History Month helps the diffusion of ideas of solidarity and equality in every aspect of society. Those movements though do not exist without the support of the people. If we want to see change in the world we need to become that change. We should not stay neutral but work together for a society of equity.
In an effort to contribute to the propagation of anti-racism ideas and equality, we would like to call students to help promote the importance of Black History Month. If you are a current undergraduate or postgraduate student at Essex and you have an essay, research paper, or case study that examines racism or relates to the importance of Black History Month, the Essex Student Journal is the best place for it!
If you want to get inspired check out the article of one of our brilliant authors, Emilia Elieva, who examined anti-Black stereotypes. You can find her article here.