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Black History Month : What “IT IS” and Is Not.

Updated: Feb 6

February is Black History Month in America.

IT IS -designated in the month of February to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture.

IT IS NOT - meant to size up or capture the entire cultural history of black Americans in one month as some pundits like renowned celebrity Morgan Freeman might misconstrue.

IT IS - held in February, the shortest month of the year because it was initially to be held in a week to honor the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

IT IS NOT - held in February, the shortest month of the year, to diminish or dis(miss) the contributions of black Americans. It was simply expanded to include that entire month beyond a week.

IT IS - comparable to celebrating any other designated holiday in America : Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter. The US government's acceptance of its national recognition is a tacit acknowledgment of its historical guilt.

IT IS NOT - a religious holiday nor a holiday of conquest by religious settlers.

IT IS - intended ultimately to make black Americans reconnect and learn more about their own heritage. Other Americans can/should also profit from this time to learn more history about their country and fellow black Americans who's cultural history and contributions were marginalized and intentionally left out of mainstream public history and discourse because of their painful revelations. Recent book banning of black / white authors on black history / themes by the governor of Florida highlights the dangers of denial which perpetuates discrimination and disenfranchisement and division.

IT IS NOT - intended to shame non black Americans but instead to reveal why other groups ( Irish, Italians, Germans, English , French, Polish, Spanish, Dutch, Greek, etc) and their contributions are routinely accepted / acknowledged, celebrated in daily American cultural life through history books, cinema, food, business enterprise, etc. Black Americans have the unique history of being brought to America involuntarily and diminished as slaves, yet shut out of the very economic and social system they predominately help build.

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