Have you ever seen those videos where people go on a day to use only products or inventions not created by black individuals throughout history? The impact is larger than I can grasp, that half of the items I use every day would not exist if it weren't for people in history. We have all been taught about Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Little Rock Nine, but what about the hidden heroes? History taught in school can be biased and white-washed that we don't get to learn many different perspectives because of the authors dated back centuries were only told by a certain minority. Out of curiosity and privilege, discovering the true history of America is what is important.
Black History Month began as Negro History Week in 1926 by historian Carter G Woodson and The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The second week of February was chosen to commemorate Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass birthdays. Schools, Churches, and mainstream media spread literature to bring awareness to the importance of learning about the history of the African American community to keep the traditions and acknowledge the atrocities committed onto the African community. The first Black History Month was proposed at Kent State in February 1970. Educational institutions grabbed the opportunity to teach young students in the classrooms about topics. The month build momentum and then became recognized worldwide and is now a global holiday. If history is forgotten, then it is easily repeated.
As we go back into American history most African Americans are descendants of Africa from the slave trade coming from mostly western and central Africa. Major ethnic groups such as the Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, Wolof, and Fan were forced to assimilate to a European idea of their culture once in America and these different ideologies and cultures were blended.
By 1700, 25,000 black people made up the population of North America and their rights were that of them and their children were slaves. The American born and African born slaves were increasingly disproportional as were how the south and north used slaves due to agricultural need. As the years went on, free black populations emerged, and slave rebellions still went on. The end of the American Civil War and Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the emancipation proclamation and the 13th amendment led to the freedom of slaves. This was a revolution for the history of African Americans.
One of the successful men as a freed slave was Benjamin Banneker, who was a surveyor, farmer, author who helped surveyed the original borders of the District of Columbia.
Churches became a place of education, spirituality, and freedom of expression in the black community. Reverend Richard Allen founded the first independent black denomination in the United States; African Methodist Episcopal Church.
These significant figures and others in history are also part of the backbone that makes American history. African Americans were involved in science, history, technology, literature, music inventions and contributions that myself included thought these didn't exist because of the limitations placed but these kings and queens prospered. As it goes for Asian American Month, Hispanic American Month and other months we shouldn't wait on a designated month to teach or acknowledge of not only the hardships but the accomplishments because it shines on the humanity of these individuals that can at times be diminished. History is of many viewpoints and must be passed down correctly, it is the backbone that creates a better tomorrow. If we don't give it the right integrity, then what are we doing?