We must never forget that Black History is American History. The achievements of African Americans have contributed to our nation’s greatness.” — U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke of New York
In the month of February, we celebrate the men and women that fought for our civil rights and helped shape our world today. Black history month celebrates our history of where it all began from slavery down to today’s historical timelines of change, laws, and rights. It is the richness of our history that details slavery, injustice, advocacy, civil rights, and constitutional change. Carter G. Woodson is the creator of Black history month. Woodson created the Association of the study of African American Life and History and created Black history week which became a month of acknowledging all that African Americans contributed to United States History. Woodson choose February because it was the birthday month of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.
President Abraham Lincoln which was the 16th president of the United States issued the Emancipation Proclamation which freed the slaves in 1863 from the confederacy. Frederick Douglass a former slave who escaped was an abolitionist and speaker known as the father of the civil rights movement who spoke for the advocacy of African American rights and against slavery. His memorable speech “What is Fourth Of July To The Slave “ was spoken in 1852 on July 5th in which he addressed the celebration of slave owners from England when slavery was still apparent.
In the month of February, we pay tribute to so many that have paved the way in our society for us to be proud of what we have accomplished this far. The fight we struggle with today is keeping forces from hiding the truth about slavery, and our history in order to erase the truth. On February 8, 2023, over 200 students staged a walkout at Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama after the district informed them that students could not perform or acknowledge slavery and the civil rights movement. Students were advised by the district they could only do certain eras in black history.
After contacting the NAACP and officials the students were allowed to proceed with their black history program at Hillcrest. More than 1000 people attended in support of their children celebrating black history, culture, and heroes. Although this fight was successfully won there is another war waging over five hundred miles away.
In the state of Florida Republican Governor, Ron Desantis collaborated with Florida’s department of education to revise its A.P course in African American Studies taking away important factors on slavery, historical events such as the civil rights movements, historical people like Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, the Montgomery Bus Boycott and various important key factors that contributed and shaped our American history. Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump has filed a lawsuit against the Florida Board of Education and Governor DeSantis if the AP African American studies are not overturned and reversed. Crump recently over the weekend received the NACCP Social Justice Award, his closing speech “ We must keep fighting for our children’s future until hell freezes over and then we have to be ready to fight on the ice”.
Many believe the underlying basis of erasing AP African American studies is to basically unacknowledged and erase a part of American History that details an era in which people of color were stolen, mistreated, abused, enslaved, lynched, and massacred. To acknowledge the truth would be to acknowledge their own historical and ancestral omission of guilt. There is a saying that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. As the continuing fight for educational equality in Ap African Studies continues encourage your children to read about their history because black history is not only for African Americans but for all Americans to learn as well.