Over time, however, February has become the main — and sometimes only — time when people have acknowledged and celebrated the contributions made by Black people on society. This really shouldn’t be the case.
The teaching and celebration of Black culture and history should be happening throughout the school year and not just centralized in February. Oftentimes, Black history is ignored by popular culture until February hits. February becomes the time when we acknowledge Black History.
The purpose of Black History Month when it was first celebrated in 1970 was to make it more accessible to people. It was intended as one way to show the contributions made by Black people at a time where people argued that Black people hadn’t contributed to society.
However, by centralizing the learning and celebration of Black history and culture in February, we rob ourselves of so much history that could be learned. There’s so many different movements, events, and people that often get overlooked because people don’t get to them in February. So why stop on February 28?
In order to stop centralizing Black history in February, there are a few steps that can be taken. Firstly, schools can stop waiting until February to begin teaching Black history. Rather than preparing lessons and other events just for February, these can occur year-round.
Another way is making Black history more engaging. While Black history can definitely be hard history, schools can discuss achievements and more positive aspects of Black history as well. There is so much more than slavery and segregation and lessons and activities should reflect that.
In order to make school a more equitable place, we shouldn’t be packing our bags because the calendar has flipped to March. A 28-day month simply isn’t enough to encapsulate all that Black people have contributed to history.