15 Things All White People Need To Know About Black History Month
White people, we need to talk.
Before we get too far into Black History Month, white people, we need to talk. There are things that need to be set straight before you celebrate, or bash, the month and what it represents.
- Dr. Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week, the precursor to Black History Month, in 1926.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the second African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard University after renowned sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois, was famously both pro-African and pro-capitalism. He understood the freeing power of capitalism and the potential it has for self-uplift. pic.twitter.com/EnHEkEVaN9— BLACK CONSERVATIVE (@blackrepublican) January 24, 2018
Dr. Woodson believed a concrete understanding of their history is necessary for a black person to succeed as a productive member of society in America. Building on his ideas, Dr. Woodson published several books and articles on the contributions of black people toward the development of the United States. He hoped all Americans would eventually recognize black people as equal and valuable parts of society, rendering recognition and Negro History Week unnecessary.
- Black History Month doesn’t begin with Martin Luther King or end with Barack Obama.
Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first black female physician in the United States. William Wells Brown was the first African American to publish a book. Daisy Bates was a civil rights activist who fought representing the Little Rock Nine who integrated white schools in Arkansas. Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress and the first black woman to run for president.
- Rosa Parks did more than sit her black ass down.
Besides being a catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, Rosa Parks served as the secretary for her local NAACP chapter. She voluntarily became the face of the movement, and after being driven from Montgomery with death threats after the boycotts, Parks worked with Detroit Congressman John Conyers Jr., who later established Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a federal holiday.
- The Civil War was about slavery. Point. Blank. Period.
The South did not want to give up their slaves, so they seceded.
- There are black people all around the world.
African Americans, Afro-Arabs, Afro-Latinos and more. The transatlantic slave trade sold people from Africa to continents around the world, and all deserve to be recognized for their cultural impact.
- Abraham Lincoln didn’t free the slaves. The slaves freed themselves.
While Abraham Lincoln did not agree with slavery, he said, “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”
To gain their freedom, slaves proved their worth to the Union cause by serving as soldiers, nurses, blacksmiths, railroad builders and filling roles open by whites fighting in the war.
- Don’t be racist and commemorate it with school menus serving fried chicken.
You’re simply perpetuating stereotypes.
- They’re called Bantu knots, cornrows and dashikis, and you did not create them.
They are not mini-buns, Bo Derek braids and “the new trend.” These styles are steeped in Black history that date back centuries, and white celebrities have neither popularized nor created them.
- The Black Panthers weren't terrorists. They were focused on equality: education, housing, employment, civil rights and women’s rights.
Government officials listed the group as violent radicalists, but the party started multiple social programs including free breakfast programs for young children attending school and free clinics for struggling families.
- Black people built this country.
From the White House to the economy, black people have built this country.
- You should recognize black history year-round, but you need an extra dose in February.
African American literature and African history are rare electives hardly taught in high schools across the country, while European and white history are mandatory courses. Black people grow up knowing little else about our race than what’s covered during slavery units.
- You know you owe us, right?
Having been forced into an unknown country, cut off from our culture and customs and restricted by slavery and segregation, black people in America have long been set back from economic, academic, social and property gain. Schools were only integrated 64 years ago. We have much catching up to do and the government that worked to hold us back has every responsibility to help us advance.
- White History Month doesn't exist because every month is White History Month.
We had kingdoms and booming economies; we were so much more than slaves.
- No, you may not wear blackface to recognize black leaders this month (or any month for that matter).
- Your treatment of black rights will eventually become black history. Please ensure you’re on the right side of it.