Black History

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Origins of Black History Month

A brief look at the history of Black Americans and Black History Month.

Black History Month, or National Black American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of Black Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent Black Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating Black History.

Black American history is the branch of American history that specifically discusses the Black American ethnic groups in the United States. Most Black Americans are the descendants of Africans forcibly brought to and held captive in the United States from 1555 to 1865. Blacks from the Caribbean whose ancestors immigrated, or who immigrated to the U.S., also traditionally have been considered Black-American, as they share a common history of predominantly West African or Central African roots, the Middle Passage and slavery.

Black Americans have been known by various names throughout American history, including colored and Negro, which are no longer accepted in English. Instead the most usual and accepted terms nowadays are African American (which in my opinion, degrades the Black American) and Black, which however may have different connotations. The term person of color usually refers not only to Black Americans, but also to other non-white ethnic groups. Others who sometimes are referred to as African Americans, and who may identify themselves as such in US government censuses, include relatively recent Black immigrants from Africa, South America and elsewhere.

Black American history is celebrated and highlighted annually in the United States during February, designated as Black History Month. Although previously marginalized, Black American history has gained ground in school and university curricula and gained wider scholarly attention since the late 20th century.

It is the opinion of this writer that those who use the hyphenated associations with their ethnic background are not accepting their origin of birth, but are assuming the Political Correctness of those whom are falling to the pressures of people who wish to change their own ethnicity. I for one was born in America, raised in America (Watts), and accept the terms in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was so proud to hail, Negro or Colored, I am not ashamed of being an American who happens to be of dark skin.