Many people ask me, “ Why is there a need for Black History Month?” or “Why does PLNU ‘even’ have a Black Student Union?” I used to feel this was an unfair question with a hidden agenda, because it was usually paired with, “Well why isn’t there a [fill in the blank] month?”
What is unfair about that question is that it discredits the value of Black History Month and its culture instead of giving heed to its purpose. For those of you who want to know how Black History Month originated and why it is important to me, please read on.
The idea for a “Negro History Week” first originated with Carter G. Woodson, who was a historian and founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He saw the need to celebrate and educate others about African American accomplishments and culture. In 1926 “Negro History Week” was created after he noticed that type of information was being left out in the public school’s textbooks. In 1976, “Negro History Week” turned into “Black History Month” and to this day is celebrated in schools and institutions in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Like with any holiday, Black History Month, during February, is a time to reflect, pay homage and inspire individuals into action. These are all positive and productive things that help our society.
This does not mean that we should not celebrate throughout the year, which I do. This also does not mean that by having a Black History Month we should ignore other cultures or think that the history of the African Diaspora is of higher importance. As a woman of mixed race, I find inspiration in all cultures and peoples. If a designated time to celebrate these cultures provides the United States with an opportunity to look back at the incredible history of its citizens then why not?
Taking the time to learn about where a person came from and what inspires him or her, can allow you to know that person better so you can both work together for the Kingdom of God.
Please, do not be afraid to ask me questions but ask me about my culture because you want to grow and learn more about your fellow member of the body of Christ. Happy Black History Month, everyone! For more information on Black History Month and Black Student Union events, please like our facebook page at facebook.com/plbsu.
Allison is a senior psychology major and president of PLNU’s Black Student union. She is passionate about uniting people together through various events and activities. She enjoys playing sports and singing.