“There shouldn’t be a black history month”. Those were the shocking words of actress Stacy Dash during a recent interview. As a Nigerian who grew up in the U.S, I couldn’t disagree more. Black history month is a vital month that allows us to highlight the outstanding achievements of black Americans, pay tribute to the exceptional men and women who paved the way for our current liberties, and celebrate our black heritage.
Growing up in the American school system, I was taught American history which conveniently neglected black Americans. Aside from the “honorable” mention of blacks during slavery, American history did not include the contributions of black Americans who helped shape the America we all know today. If it were not for Black History month, the achievements of black leaders, writes, artists, and inventors would be overlooked. We may not have known of the gifted literary writer Langston Hughes, the great educator Booker T Washington, the brave humanitarian, Harriet Tubman, the brilliant orator and statesman Frederick Douglass, the self-made millionaire entrepreneur Madam C.J Walker, the first traffic light inventor, Garrett Morgan, and many others.
Paying tribute to these great black figures is an important aspect of black history month as well. We must never forget or take for granted the incredible role these leaders played so we may enjoy the opportunities currently available to us today. These opportunities include the freedom to vote, attend any college, purchase a home, run for political office, open a business, and ultimately partake in the American dream. Granted, there are still improvements to be made, but we can acknowledge the progress already achieved.
Celebrating our heritage while reconnecting to our African roots is another key part of Black History month. We should take the time to learn more about our roots and culture so we have a better sense of identity. One of the ways we can celebrate is by expressing ourselves through clothing. The D’IYANU clothing line was born out of the desire to create modern African inspired fashion that could be worn daily for those seeking to express themselves in a unique way.
In spite of Stacy Dash’s ignorant comment, Black History month should NOT be canceled- clearly! We will continue celebrating and acknowledging our amazing leaders that paved the way for us. To these men and women and many more whose name may never get public applause, we say thank you!
What are your thoughts? Leave your comment below and share this on Facebook and Twitter if you agree that Black History Month is important!
Lets have a white history month..
Black history achievement needs only a few minutes..not a month
Black History month is a valuable part of our lives as African Americans in these United States, but if we are honest with ourselves, it’s our responsibility to educate our children about our history. It should be taught in schools along with curriculum already being taught, but if we wait for that to happen, future generations will never truly know their rich heritage because no one cares about it ( outside our own race) or should care about it the way we do, it’s who we are! We should be the ones teaching our children about us! It should be constant and ongoing. We can celebrate us with information, programs, celebrations every month. We can make Black History a monthly celebration if we like, among ourselves. But we should be teaching and sharing our history with our young ones every day in our homes. I feel it’s the only way our young people will begin to understand and appreciate who they really are. They need to know they come from magnificent stock, the cream of the crop, and that no one can ever diminish their value with their ignorance of who we as a people really are!
Brilliant response to the Black HIstory Month. IGNORANCE about our culture and how celebrate it can be banished via intelligent responses such as this one!
Stacy Dash is clueless. Bless her her I agree with those post that there should be more black history in our school systems and it should be celebrated 365 days not just 21 days
In reference to the statement in the blog by Addie Olutola that “Black history month is a vital month that allows us to highlight the outstanding achievements of black Americans, pay tribute to the exceptional men and women who paved the way for our current liberties, and celebrate our black heritage.” I agree with you that it does allow for that, but it is Black History Month, not African American History Month. The aim of Dr. Carter G. Woodson was to celebrate the history made by blacks, around the world.
To the other matter of black history being integrated into main stream history courses and lessons, it can. One does not have to wait for a curriculum to be developed. As educators you have the ability/power to weave relevant black history into your teaching, anytime. The social studies curriculum does not have to carry the burden of revealing black accomplishments. In math, the learner could learn about the contributions of black mathematicians. Science teachers could introduce black scientists who caused influence in that particular branch of science, or the works of black writers in English class. The last thing that I would like to point out is the potential of such conversations, of black contributions to the world, moving our dialogue beyond slavery, Rosa Parks, and Dr. King (Which are very worthy of discussion but not the only discussion about blacks in the world). May we all continue to be enlightened, respectfully, -JW
First there was Black History Week and later came Black History Month; I am grateful that Carter G. Woodson thought enough of himself and others to establish a time that the people of African heritage are recognize for the good in ourselves and our contributions to society and the world at large. If anyone think that African History deserves more time and should be recognize all year long…start the “revolution” to make it happen just remember progress happens in time and increments but usually begins with one person ready to improve the “status quo.” I say this because I believe in us. I believe in you.
I believe we should celebrate Black History 365 days a year. There are amazing achievements that African Americans do everyday and these need to be celebrated in the moment. However, I still like and celebrate Black History month every year as I have for 60 years and will continue to do so until I die. I strongly encourage the elders to teach our younger generations the legacy of sacrifice, service and dedication of so many that gave of themselves so that we can enjoy the freedoms we sometimes take for granted today. We should never forget our past, starting from African to the shores of America and across the diaspora of continents where all peoples of African descent are connected. We need to embrace our culture all of it and be proud of this rich culture we often ignore.
I agree with the passion of this post, but I believe Black/African history should be incorporated into the school system throughout the year and not relegated to just one month. Also, it would be great if the school system didn’t just focus on slavery as the beginning of Black history, like one of the other commenters mentioned. I’m Jamaican born & mostly raised in America & I would have loved to know more about African history as well.
I could not agree more. There is so much of our history that has not been told. I believe that the senseless comments of Stacy were just for publicity. I am sad for her. The contributions we have made in this country are astounding. Black Lives Continue to Matter and we need to make sure it does for our future generations.
I do not believe Black History Month should be gotten rid of and, in fact, it should be incorporated and be a mandatory part of the school curriculum. The many languages, from the Motherland, should also be incorporated into the school curriculum . I do, however, believe it should be renamed, “African History Month”, considering ALL life began there. Without us there would be no them. Our children deserve to know the WHOLE truth, not partial truths. Not all of us arrived here on ships. Most of us already inhabited this land called “America”, that Columbus allegedly “discovered”. The best advise I could give Ms. Dash is to pick up several books and have a seat. Stacey Dash is just as clueless and uninformed as the character she played in “Clueless”. She’s nothing more than a pawn in this game. When they’re done using her like a $2 wh$&@, just like a rabid dog, she will be disposed of.
As a young 5th grader growing up in the newly developed area of NE Philadelphia in the 1960’s, I was unaware of racial tension. My parents turned the news off when unpleasant things were broadcast. I had little knowledge of people not liking someone because of color or nationality. I was raised in a Christian home and prayed for missionaries around the world…believing that ALL people are loved by God. I, also, had a wonderful teacher who encouraged the reading of biographies, as well as a desire to incorporate African history into the curriculum. As a result, I read the biographies of many you have listed. I was selected to attend a special Saturday enrichment class that was sponsored by the Philadelphia school system to learn about African history. It has been a life-long desire for my to travel to a foreign country. At this stage of my life, the possibility has finally arrived.
Soon, I will be making my first trip to Nigeria. In preparing to go, I have been studying the history of Nigeria and its culture. I realize how little I know about the country, let alone the vast continent of Africa. The rich culture, alone, is worth studying. As a teacher, I have often wondered why there is so little time spent on the study of other countries and cultures. So much time is spent on re-teaching American history in our 12 year curriculum. It has surprised me that this has not changed in the schools where I have taught in the past 30 years of my career. I would hope that Black History Month would, at the least, place the topic in front of teachers and the media. How much better it would be if this were not necessary. How much better it would be if the educational system would have this topic so well integrated into the curriculum that it would not be necessary to spotlight the topic once/year. Thank you for this thoughtful blog. Thank you for your beautiful line of clothing and superb customer service. The things I have ordered from you will not only be enjoyed here in the US, but will come with me to Nigeria.
I don’t believe that Ms. Dash has sacrificed her self respect for a moment in the spotlight. As the Cultural Analyst for Fox, it sounds like she really believes what she is saying. I guess she believes that full assimilation is the answer to our racial woes.
Why would she run the risk of alienating herself from the only people who supported her all these years? I am sure that some of the shows/movies she has been in have been the butt of conservative jokes! Let’s face it, her acting skills do not equate to those of Ms. Bassett, Ms. Berry or Ms. Nyong’o (and so many others), but we watched her in numerous movies and TV shows. I guarantee the average Fox viewer has never seen her performances (oh, maybe they watched “Clueless”).
I actually feel sorry for her. When the “revolution” is televised, I doubt that she will be in front of the Fox cameras anymore.
Very well said. Unfortunately, people (Stacy Dash) are willing to sacrifice their self respect for a moment in the spotlight. The accomplishments of black Americans and the history of blacks in America are undervalued and rarely discussed. Black History Month provides a platform to remind us of our contributions to this country and our significance in society. Something that is easily forgotten in this climate of oppression.