African History Month

John H. Clarke

Powerful people cannot afford to educate the people that they oppress, because once you are truly educated, you will not ask for power. You will take it. Closing Quote

"Africans and persons of African descent must assume the primary responsibility and leadership in historical research….if we are to continue to leave practically all important historical research and writing concerning the black race to the white man, then we must be prepared to accept, uncomplainingly, the white man’s point of view."
                               Chancellor Williams, African Historian

What is African History Month?

African history month is a concept that was initiated by Dr. Carter G. Woodson (December 19, 1875 – April 3, 1950) who founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History; however, he is most noted for his creation of Negro History Week in February 1926. At first, it was met with a lukewarm response. He worked diligently for over twenty years promoting his dream until his death in 1950.

 His original creation has been enhanced into a concept as a Black History Month (1976) in the United States followed by United Kingdom (1987) although it is celebrated in October, along with Canada in 1995. Notably, countries in Europe, South America and Africa have also acknowledged Dr. Carter's life-long dedication.

 Dr Carter was given credit for Black History Month (B H M) that is justified. However, he was struggling to promote his original creation without any knowledge of the current Black History Month celebrations thirty years after his death. The B H M used Black instead of Negro and extended his celebration from a week into a month. Surely Dr. Carter would approve these enhancements.

 Now is the appropriate time to extend these conceptualizations  even further by using African instead of black, which would be inclusive of the victims of slavery as well as  colonialism, and it should begin with ancient history until the present-day and most importantly, it should be every day in the year. Most of all  it  would be  on par with all  other cultures' history, which has no time limitations. More appropriately, it should be known as African History Month365.

The young ones within the African communities will benefit by learning a variety of historical  aspects   of their culture.   These aspects   will be nurtured and planted for future generations to harvest.   

Mindful, a concept is never ending, and this enhancement would be the crowning glory of his struggle to implement Negro History Week that occurred 100 years ago. 

Let us pause and give homage to Dr. Carter G. Woodson founder of Negro History Week in 1926, and the African-British history month was introduced in 1987 by Linda Bellos both are appreciated in our contemporary world. And also, we must pay tribute to countless activists, organizations and governmental agencies that are celebrated annually. African communities everywhere owe them a debt of gratitude.

However, we must not forget our ancestors and its history. If we do, we are negating thousands and thousand of years of our heritage. Africa is complex with over 2000 cultures, with different languages, traditions, and having histories of their own.

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(c) 2011-2012 African History Month All Rights Reserved