OPINION | Everyone should partake in Black History Month

A fairly common misconception about Black History Month is that it’s only a time for African-Americans.

This is false.

It’s a time for every American, no matter their race, to reflect on our nation’s past and learn about its history.

February is Black History Month, and Butler  University is hosting a string of events called “Celebration of Diversity 2012” that honors and celebrates African- Americans of the past, present and future.

Several diversity groups on campus have a hand in the planning and implementing of the events.

Students should get involved in the celebration that runs Feb. 3-27.

According to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Carter G. Woodson started Negro History and Literature Week along with the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in 1924.

The week was meant to urge black civic organizations to promote the achievements that researchers were uncovering and publishing in The Journal of Negro History.

In 1976, the association shifted the celebration from a week in February to the entire month of February.

The second month was chosen because of two Americans who played a significant role in black history: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Both have birthdays that fall within the month.

Now, why is Black History Month such a celebration?

Black History Month is a month set aside to focus on a unique history, that of black Americans. It is a time to celebrate our nation’s history and also the contributions African- Americans have made to our nation.

The month allows us to take a moment to honor historic African- Americans such as Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks. We are also able to honor influential African-Americans of our time such as President Barack Obama and Condoleezza Rice.

We remember the triumphs and injustices African-Americans have faced in history, assess the present and ponder the future.

Black History Month allows us to learn about important figures and events that have determined where our nation is today.

Let’s face it. We’re all ignorant at times.

Sometimes we need a short refresher on why things are the way they are or how things came to be.

Celebrating Black History Month gives us that refresher.

We can revisit the eras of slavery and segregation. We can go back in time to the days of the Underground Railroad or the Civil Rights Movement. We can remember great leaders.

It is all American history.

We’re Americans, and we need to know it.

Let’s celebrate Black History Month together.

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