February is Black History Month, and unlike Stacey Dash, I don’t think Black History Month divides people, but rather provides an opportunity to consciously include the experiences of African Americans in a way that may not happen at other times of the year.
When I think back to my elementary school education, most of the figures we learned about were white. But I do remember that once a year, around the time we had a lesson about President George Washington, we also learned about George Washington Carver.
By the time I was in high school, I was curious to learn about the other aspects of American history that I had only seen glimpses of. In my junior year, we were assigned to do a semester-long research paper on a topic of our choosing in US history.
I chose the Civil Rights movement, because I was hungry to learn more about events that were not in our curriculum. Because I had some basic exposure to Black history in school, I knew there must be other resources out there beyond what we had learned.
But that’s not where Black history ends, although it may be more convenient to believe so, especially for those of us who are not living in black or brown skin. Half a century has passed since Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech,” since the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act were passed, since schools were ordered to be desegregated and history continues to write itself.
How much are we learning about more recent events and how they continue to affect the world we live in?
If you want to learn more about Black History Month and Black history, here are a few places to start:
African American History Month: The federal government's website about African American History Month has a lot of information, including background about this event, resources for teachers, and lists of many upcoming events.
BlogHer member Parthenia Queen has a 10-part series of posts about Black History 101, beginning with this one on white privilege.
28 Black Picture Books That Aren’t About Boycotts, Buses or Basketball: Scott Wood writes, “We’ve picked up a few other hobbies since the 1960s, and there are hundreds of books to show for it. Here is a humble sampling of some just in time for Black History Month. 28 children’s picture books, most of them featuring Black children doing what all children do: play, make up stories, learn life lessons, and dream.”
Black History Month is a way for us to celebrate our culture: Dia Darling writes on SheKnows: “People don't want segregation and integration. We want integration and acknowledgement. It’s not as if black Americans are getting the month off from work or requesting restoration payment in February; we just want our stories heard.”
The 'MHP' Black Feminism Syllabus: Melissa Harris-Perry has an extensive reading list, with many books focusing on more recent ideas and events.
This list is far from complete, so please leave a comment with your ideas or links to posts that you suggest!
BlogHer News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about raising an Asian mixed-race family at HapaMama.
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