History Man and Black History Month
Part one of an eight-part series
February is designated Black History Month – a time when we reflect fully on the contributions blacks have made to the development of our lives. This can be politically, socially, economically, and spiritually.
February is also Reggae Month, so the twin celebration takes on a more dynamic fever; it has now gone beyond just the usual seminars and exhibitions, to big concerts, and the proliferation of reggae music, of say, Bob Marley and Dennis Brown. Older folks and the new generation will learn much from their message.
The Informative History Man could not remain silent when Black History Month also seeks to celebrate freedom of speech. And, as his moniker suggests, the Rastafarian, born Andrew Kiffin, reminds us that the Black History Month celebration really started in the United States.
“This was to give credit to those black people for their contributions. And, then it spread worldwide.”
Carter G Woodson, in 1915 co-founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. And, in 1926, the group declared the second week of February “Negro History Week” to recognize the contributions of African Americans to US history.
The week was also chosen because it included the birthdays of Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist. and former US president Abraham Lincoln. He led the US during the civil war which was primarily fought over the enslavement of black people in the country.
The week long event officially became Black History Month in 1976; when US president Gerald Ford extended the recognition to honour the often neglected accomplishment of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.
Some of the notable figures in the US list of recognition are Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. who fought for equal rights for blacks during the 1950s and 1960s. Thurgood Marshall, the first African American justice appointed to the US Supreme Court in 1967. Mae Jemison, who became the first female African-American astronaut to travel to space in 1992, and Barak Obama the first ever African-American president of the US in 2008.
History Man believes that it would have been more appropriate, in the case of Jamaica, to have Black History Month in August.
“The Honourable Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s birthday falls in August (17th) while Emancipation Day is August 1st. Then again, why select the shortest month of the year to have Black History celebrations?
The Informative History Man emphasizes that the activities associated with Black History Month will inspire blacks to be involved in programmes that will uplift their well-being.
Be sure to read part two in the series: History Man and Marcus Garvey. Only on the Reggae-Vibes site.
(Photo courtesy of Kings and Queens Production)