What Is BHM And Why Does It Matter?
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Black History Month, also called African American History Month, honors African Americans’ significant historical and cultural contributions. Every February in the United States, there is a month-long celebration to honor this community’s many successes and accomplishments over the years. African Americans have made significant contributions to shaping American society, from the Civil Rights Movement to the arts and sciences.
Black History Month is a compelling reminder of this legacy and a chance to recognize and honor the countless people who paved the way for subsequent generations. Black History Month presents a special opportunity to recognize the diversity and tenacity of African American culture, whether through instruction, neighborhood celebrations, or introspective thought.
Origin of Black History Month
Carter G. Woodson, a prominent African American historian and scholar founded Black History Month as “Negro History Week” in 1926. Woodson chose the week of February 12th to overlap with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two strong personalities in American history who played pivotal roles in advancing the cause of civil rights for African Americans.
The observance grew from a week to a full month over time, and President Gerald Ford announced February as Black History Month in 1976. Since then, it has grown into a nationwide celebration, with events and activities taking place in communities across the country to commemorate and celebrate African Americans’ achievements and contributions throughout history.
The significance of Black History Month cannot be overstated, as it is a powerful reminder of African American culture’s resilience, strength, and perseverance, as well as the indelible impact it has had on American society and the world.
The Significance of Black History Month
The Ongoing Struggle for Civil Rights
Black History Month honors the ongoing fight for African Americans’ civil rights and equality. Black Americans struggled for equal rights under the law in the U.S. during the civil rights movement, primarily in the 1950s and 1960s. Black people continued to experience the devastating effects of racism, particularly in the South, even after the Civil War had officially abolished slavery.
This commemoration sheds light on the community’s historical and contemporary challenges and the critical work that remains to be done to address systemic racism and discrimination. Black History Month undoubtedly serves as a call to action for continued progress toward racial equality through education and reflection.
The Impact of African American Culture on Society
Recognizing African American culture’s profound influence on society gives Black History Month its significance. African Americans have significantly influenced American society’s development in various fields, including the arts, sciences, politics, and more.
Preserving and Celebrating Cultural Heritage
Black History Month is significant because it promotes the preservation of African Americans’ rich cultural heritage. This celebration comes with this occasion for reflection and transmitting cultural heritage to future generations.
We can encourage a deeper understanding and appreciation of diversity, foster cultural pride, and honor the legacy of this significant community by educating people about the historical contributions and cultural legacies of African Americans.
Each Year Has a Different BHM Theme
Since it was first observed formally in 1976, Black History Month has expanded to be a month-long celebration by businesses like Google and Target and cultural organizations like theaters, libraries, and museums. Participating social media platforms include Instagram, which has programs like 2019’s #CelebrateBlackCreatives.
Black History Month celebrations are organized by the ASALH (Association for the Study of African American Life and History) around a particular theme each year. “African Americans and the Vote,” 2020’s theme, commemorated both the 150th anniversary of the 15th Amendment, giving black men voting right, and the 100th anniversary of the 9th Amendment, which enabled women to vote. The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity was the theme for 2021. This theme examined the spread of Black families in America and the African diaspora. Because of this, Black History Month shouldn’t last for a single month.
Black Health and Wellness was the focus of Black History Month in 2022. This initiative highlighted the achievements and contributions of Black professionals while highlighting the cultural diversity of those “non-traditional” health and wellness practitioners. The BHM theme for 2023 is “Black Resistance.”
Why Does BHM Matter in Today’s Time?
Black History Month matters for several reasons:
Acknowledgment of contributions: It provides an opportunity to acknowledge and pay homage to the countless contributions made by African Americans to American society and the world.
Educating future generations: It helps to educate future generations about the rich history and cultural heritage of African Americans, promoting a deeper understanding and appreciation of diversity and cultural differences.
Celebrating resilience and strength: It celebrates the resilience, strength, and perseverance of African Americans in the face of adversity, discrimination, and inequality.
Fostering cultural pride: It fosters cultural pride and a sense of belonging for African Americans by highlighting their achievements and contributions.
Promoting racial equality: It promotes racial equality by shedding light on the ongoing struggle for civil rights and equality for African Americans. It is a reminder of the work that must be done to address systemic racism and discrimination.
In conclusion, Black History Month is a key observance that allows us to reflect on African Americans’ rich history and cultural heritage. This celebration highlights the countless contributions made by African Americans to American society and the world at large. It serves as a reminder of this community’s resilience, strength, and perseverance in the face of adversity, discrimination, and inequality.
By recognizing the achievements and impact of African Americans, we are able to foster cultural pride, promote racial equality, and educate future generations about the importance of diversity and cultural understanding. Black History Month matters because it honors the power and influence of African American culture and provides a platform for us to celebrate this rich heritage.