2014-01-31 / Columnists

An Intern’s Take

Black History Month… Connecting The Dots
By Ilyassha Shivers

This weekend I learned a little bit more about something that comes and goes every year. You start to notice it around the end of January.

The library displays begin to change. George Washington Carver, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman books and posters begin to appear. This is when the country decides to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of those of African descent.

During the dawning decades of the 20th century, it was commonly presumed that black people had little history besides the subjugation of slavery.

Today it is clear that blacks have significantly impacted the development of the social, political and economic structures of the United States and the world. Credit for the evolving awareness of the true place of blacks in history can in large part be bestowed on one man, Carter G. Woodson.

His brainchild, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Inc. is continuing Woodson’s tradition of disseminating information about black life, history and culture to the global community.

Known as the “Father of Black History,” Woodson (1875-1950) was the son of former slaves and understood how important gaining a proper education is when striving to secure and make the most out of one’s divine right of freedom. Although he did not begin his formal education until he was 20 years old, his dedication to study enabled him to earn a high school diploma in West Virginia and a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Chicago in just a few years.

In 1912, Woodson became the second African American to earn a PhD at Harvard University.

Recognizing the dearth of information on the accomplishments of blacks in 1915, Dr. Woodson founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).

Under Woodson’s pioneering leadership, the association created research and publication outlets for black scholars with the establishment of the “Journal of Negro History” (1916) and the “Negro History Bulletin” (1937), which garners a popular public appeal.

In 1926, Dr. Woodson initiated the celebration of Negro History Week, which corresponded with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976 this celebration was expanded to include the entire month of February.

Today Black History Month garners support throughout the country as people of all ethnic and social backgrounds discuss the black experience. ASALH views the promotion of Black History Month as one of the most important components of advancing Dr. Woodson’s legacy.

You may ask why this is important or what this has to do with the cost of tea in China. If we are to truly usher in this post racial society that we all talk about there must be an understanding that black history is our history. From the inception of this country the black presence has been felt. From slavery to the Civil War. The industrial revolution to the Harlem Renaissance. The Civil Rights Movement to the present black. Excellence has been woven into the fibers of this nation.

So as long as we have black history month, we will always be a nation divided. Tell me what you think email your thoughts and comments to shiverswave@gmail.com.

Take time this month to learn about someone you may not of be familiar with and follow me this month as I bring you some of the untold stories, the heroes and she-roes that have made history. And by the way. . . don’t forget to read The Wave...........

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