There are a lot of strong opinions around concerning Black History Month, especially after the editorial, Time to Dump Black History Month by Joyce King. Then, one of the greatest actors to ever draw breath, Morgan Freeman, spoke out against Black History Month, further creating a controversy.
Personally, I love the idea of an entire month being devoted to paying tribute to great men and women from our history (our, as in all of us). Martin Luther King, Jr. affected all of our worlds positively, not just those who shared his skin color. I do wish another month had been chosen, however…between honoring Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and cupid – February’s pretty crowded. I think more attention could be given in a less crowded month.
Whenever I think of the different opinions over this month, I think of three different things:
- I’m as much for this month as I am for March being Women’s History month. The history books are packed with men and women, so much so that obviously there won’t be room for everyone. Any situation that creates an opportunity to acknowledge and learn from others (who might be left out) is a positive thing.
- I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve run into this same scenario: I’m in a group of people and the topic of (non-Biblical, non-family) heroes/heroines comes up. I name the two closest to my heart: Harriet Tubman and Abraham Lincoln and inevitably I hear, “I don’t know her…” So, I give them a history lesson! If history class failed you, click HERE for your own private introduction to Lady Tubman. It makes me a crazy woman to think that her name would be unrecognized by anyone!
- I don’t think of it as confining the celebration of Black history to just one month – any more than I think Thanksgiving confines thankfulness to one day, or Christmas and Easter confine Jesus to two holidays. I think it’s about respecting a race of people who was too strong for history to keep down or hold back. Can we not all learn from that kind of spirit?!
In the end, a day or month of recognition is primarily and ultimately about one thing: To get people talking and to make them think. Seems to be working!