Should We Teach Black History More Than Once a Year?

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African-American life, tradition, and history should be a cause for constant celebration and introspection. Instead, the Black history conversation only happens once a year in schools. Black History Month won’t suffice. African-American history should be an integral part of the curriculum all year round. The Village Method is a culturally affirming after-school program that supports the African-American spirit.

As soon as Black History Month comes to an end, anti-racist educators are expected to move on from the too-often neglected accomplishments and struggles of Black communities all around the nation. It is nonsensical to promote anti-racist education once a year. The Black experience never stops. Every day, our children have to come to terms with the rampant systemic racism in education.

In today’s article, we’ll take a look at the month-long celebration of Black Americans. Furthermore, we’ll explore why this annual celebration should become part of the year-long curriculum.


The Origins of Black History Month

Rather than turning Black History Month into a performative event, let us take a closer look at how this nationwide celebration came to be. Here is a brief timeline that all anti-racist educators should be familiar with:

The Founders of Black Excellence

Have you ever wondered why Black History Month takes place during the entirety of February? Both Frederick Douglass, the emblematic figure of the civil rights movement, and President Lincoln, who fought to expand the rights of our people, were both born in February. These two prominent figures changed the course of history forever.

Furthermore, the great Frederick Douglass was an autodidact who taught himself how to write and read. He tirelessly fought for his people’s right to literacy and freedom during the Civil War and Reconstruction era. For a better outlook on his life and achievements, make sure to read his autobiography titled ‘My Bondage and My Freedom’. 

Also, does the name Dr. Carter G. Woodson ring a bell? If not, you should know that he was the second African-American to receive a Harvard doctorate. He is also known as the Father of Black History. Few manage to make such a long-lasting difference. The lives of modern African-Americans have been positively impacted by Woodson’s ambition, even a hundred years later. 

The Promising Beginning of Negro History Week

During the 1920s, the debut of Negro History Week managed to bring the turbulent story of African-Americans into the curriculum. A decade later, race relations saw an improvement as some white schools began to participate in the Negro History Week curriculums. At last, African-American life and achievements were on full display, for everyone to behold.

Professor Lawrence D. Reddick, also known as the first person to write the biography of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, remembered how impactful Negro History Week was during his childhood. As a young boy, he had the privilege to hear Dr. Woodson speak in his hometown, Jacksonville.

The First Black History Month

During the 70s, Kent State University made a daring proposal ━ Negro History Week was to become Black History Month. It was first celebrated in February 1970 and became an important part of anti-racist education as a whole. 

The State of Black History Month Today

Educational inequality is an issue that affects the depiction of African-American history and tradition. The achievements and contributions of those of African descent continue to be either belittled or kept in the background as not a necessary part of the curriculum. Systemic racism in education is an issue that directly impacts academic achievement.

In fact, new restrictions are continuing to affect anti-racist educators as we speak. They need the freedom to express their appreciation for Black history, as well as their dissatisfaction with systemic racism in education. Black scholars are entitled to their view on educational inequality. We need to help them raise their voices and express their concerns. 

With Critical Race Theory (CRT) being under constant attack, it seems like Black lives matter only a few days a year. The children are eager to learn more about their people’s stories. For this reason alone, many families of color are looking for alternatives, such as culturally affirming after-school programs.

It’s Time to Teach Black History All-Year-Round

The act of teaching the history of our people should never be performative, occasional, or censored. Instead, the curriculum should aim to liberate and empower its students by exposing them to the truth. Educational inequality continues to affect all of us.

It’s not only Black scholars that should become accustomed to the real version of events but everyone who ever sets foot in American institutions that aim to educate. Until then, families are choosing to sign up their young ones for after-school programs that shed light on burning issues.

The Village Method goes beyond the agenda of regular after-school programs. We aim to educate, nurture, and empower our children. From K-12 to college, we believe in the power of family engagement, community outreach programming, and youth development. Get involved now and help us make Black history a permanent fixture!

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Zavia Jarret

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