THE BLOG

Taking Black History Month Beyond February

05/05/2010 05:12 am 05:12:02 | Updated May 25, 2011

Now that February is over and Black History Month has ended, how soon will it be before the celebrations end? I'm not trying to stir anything up, but it seems that once Black History Month is over, there go the programs honoring our ancestors. There go the many lessons taught to our children in school about individuals who made a difference. There goes the support from major corporations that underwrite such programs. The Black history books are put on the shelf until next February. Our history and the celebration of it are once again pigeonholed into one month. And who do we have to blame but ourselves?

Every year during the month of February we pause to pay homage to the many heroes, heroines and pioneers whose shoulders on which we all stand. You've heard the running joke before; the reason Black History is celebrated during the month of February is because it's the shortest month of the year! (In fact, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who launched Negro History Week in 1926 to bring national awareness to the contributions of African-Americans, chose February because Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln were both born in that month.)

I'm tired of being dictated to in terms of when I can celebrate, share, and be inspired by our history. Celebrating our history is not exclusive to February.

Now more than ever before we must celebrate our history throughout the entire year. I'm not saying that we have to do something everyday, that might be asking too much. What I'm saying is that throughout the year we should continue to provide some of the programs that have become the norm during the month of February. Programs that take place in schools, community centers and especially in our churches, which provide critical resources and services to the black community.

It's so important that we support our local black history museums, historical societies, genealogy societies and those individuals in our community who our working hard every day to educate, inspire and preserve our rich and noble history and culture.

Now that Black History Month is over, will the celebration end? Let's hope not. Let's continue to hold our history and heritage in trust for those who have yet to be born.