Black history is American history

The month of February marks Black History Month and its origin traces all the way back to a man named Carter G. Woodson, a man many do not know about today. Although Black History Month has come under fire recently, Woodson’s legacy is still a great one. Woodson was a professor, author, journalist, and most importantly the founder of Black History Month. He is often considered the first to make a scholarly foray into the subject of Black History. He did this in order create an awareness of their origins. In 1915, Woodson and some of his colleagues created the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson was the driving force behind this publication and despite the hard early years, Woodson’s hard work brought himself to prominence. In 1926, Woodson single-handedly pioneered the celebration of Negro History Week the second week in February, which has been extended to include the entire month of February as Black History Month. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Soon after the creation of Negro History Week Woodson and famous Black Nationalist Marcus Garvey crossed paths, and Woodson became a regular columnist for Garvey’s weekly Negro World. At his time Woodson was an influential man, whose writing paved the way for others. The controversy surrounding Black History month is that whether the history of a people should be singled out for one month a year, or singled out for that matter at all. In the Dec. 18, 2005 episode of 60 minutes actor Morgan Freeman criticized Black History Month as inadequate. “I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.” Freeman stated that racism will persist as long as individuals continue to identify themselves by their race. In addition, many Black Nationalist groups, including the Nation of Islam, have criticized Black History Month. Among these groups that criticize Black History Month is the African American Studies program at Iowa State. They believe that one month of a peoples’ history is inadequate and it should be incorporated with American history. Is there an American History Month? “You can’t talk about one without talking about the other,” said a representative from Black History Month referring to the relationship between American and Black history. Interestingly, Woodson wished for Negro History Week to eventually be eliminated when African-American history would be fully integrated with American history. Even though the validity of having a Black History Month is disputed, we should all use it as a reminder of how far we’ve come and how much further we have to go to reach a world where we don’t see color.