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 Episode #2: Should We End Black History Month?

Black History Month has been celebrated for decades as a time to honor and recognize the contributions and achievements of Black individuals throughout history. However, some argue that relegating Black history to a single month perpetuates segregation and fails to fully integrate it into the mainstream curriculum. Ending Black History Month could be beneficial, as it would emphasize that Black history is an integral part of American history that should be incorporated into educational curricula throughout the year. By integrating Black history into the broader narrative, we can foster a more inclusive and comprehensive understanding of our shared past, promoting equality and unity.

 

The podcast features an interview with Dr. Horace Huntley in February 1991 and suggests that by ending Black History Month, we might celebrate Black culture and history throughout the year.

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Dive Deeper

PBS
INDEPENDENT LENS: End Black History Month?

Filmmaker Shukree Hassan Tilghman sets off on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month. His insightful and humorous journey explores the complexity and contradictions of relegating an entire group's history to one month in a so-called "post-racial" America.

NPR
Why Does Black History Month Matter?
About 10 years ago, Shukree Hassan Tilghman tried to cancel Black History Month. 

Outfitted in a sandwich board with the words "End Black History Month" written across the front, he walked the streets of New York City looking for people to sign his petition to do away with it. 

To figure out what Tilghman was up to, it helps to know the other side of his placard read "Black history is American history." It also helps to know he was filming all this for a documentary he made, "More Than A Month." That movie explored an ongoing question about Black History Month; rather than lifting up African American accomplishment, does it instead maintain a segregated history of America?

Romper Parenting
When Black History Month Is Over, The Work Continues. Celebrating Blackness Year-Round Is A Practice That Leads To AA More Equitable Society For All. (Sponsored By Raising Anti-Racists Kids)

The end of February marks the end of Black History Month. In our home, we educate our kids about Black history all year round, but this month presented an opportunity for an extra celebration of Blackness —Black joy, Black history, Black future. It’s a time when we as a society are joined by social media and corporate America as we lean into acknowledging Black figures in history. This month holds so much meaning for so many. At the end of Black History Month, though, many people move on and shift their focus to the next month’s topic. But part of committing to anti-racism includes recognizing that historical marginalization of Black people could be just that — history

Smithsonian
Knowing The Past Opens The Door To The Future: The Continuing Importance of Black History Month

No one has played a greater role in helping all Americans know the black past than Carter G. Woodson, the individual who created Negro History Week in Washington, D.C., in February 1926. Woodson was the second black American to receive a PhD in history from Harvard—following W.E.B. Du Bois by a few years. To Woodson, the black experience was too important simply to be left to a small group of academics. Woodson believed that his role was to use black history and culture as a weapon in the struggle for racial uplift. By 1916, Woodson had moved to DC and established the “Association for the Study of Negro Life and Culture,” an organization whose goal was to make black history accessible to a wider audience. 

Additional Resources

Beamon, T. (1997, Feb 20). A Black History Month Obligation or Celebration?; African Americans Question Whether Observance Has Become Just Another Uninspired Routine: FINAL Edition. The Washington Post https://www.proquest.com/newspapers/black-history-month-obligation-celebration/docview/408291417/se-2

Franklin, J. H., Horne, G., Cruse, H. W., Ballard, A. R., & Mitchell, R. L., Jr. (1998). Black History Month: Serious Truth Telling or a Triumph in Tokenism? Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, 18, 87–92.

King, L. J., & Brown, K. (2014). Once a Year to be Black: Fighting against Typical Black History Month Pedagogies. Negro Educational Review, 65(1-4), 23-43. https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/once-year-be-black-fighting-against-typical/docview/1650640989/se-2

News and Views: New Web Site Would Transform Black History Month Into a Year-Round Effort. (Undetermined). (2000). Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (Theodore Cross Family Charitable Foundation), 27, 52.

Pitre, A., & Ray, R. (2002). The controversy around Black History. Western Journal of Black Studies, 26(3), 149-154. https://www.proquest.com/scholarly-journals/controversy-around-black-history/docview/200389889/se-2

VAN DE MIEROOP, K. (2016). On the Advantage and Disadvantage of Black History Month for Life: The Creation of the Post-Racial Era. History & Theory, 55(1), 3–24. https://doi.org/10.1111/hith.10784

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