Black History Month has a history of its own.
The commemorative month was founded more than 100 years.
In 1915, 50 years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which abolished slavery in America, Black History Month was created as a way to acknowledge black Americans.
Attempting to recognize all African Americans who achieved greatness in their field is impossible.
The contributions of black Americans is as broad, as vast and as diverse as the nation.
Some people still like to deride the need for a Black History Month. Why don’t we have a White History Month, they ask?
History books and curriculum have largely been written by white people, and thus reflect a homogeneous perspective that has excluded the contributions of blacks, women and other minorities. Arguably, every month is White History Month.
Still, eventually, our country might reach the point we no longer need to call attention to the achievements of any specific race or ethnic group.
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But we’re not there yet.
For the fourth year, the newspaper’s SunLight Project team interviewed several community leaders and residents to discuss the importance of the civil rights movement, current race relations and other aspects that could easily fit into the character of Black History Month.
And while the stories are shared during the month, readers will hopefully realize an overriding truth.
These are not black stories.
They are the stories of our neighbors and friends.
They are American stories.
— The (Georgia) Valdosta Daily Times