Opinion: Do We Still Need Black History Month? Yes We Do!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009 08:58 Written by  Sydney Corryn

Black History Month is not just an ordinary month where our youth learn about the struggles and triumphs of our ancestors.  It is vital to our children’s education and social identity.


Acknowledging the past will help blacks shape their cultural being. Annually revisiting our racial history will give us an in-depth understanding from whence we came and ultimately what we will aspire to become. Even further, African history is rich with hundreds of languages, cultures and traditions. The African story continues on a new continent with new challenges as well as new rewards.  The youth of America needs to see how we all fit into its chapters. The struggles, sacrifices and setbacks were just a part of a divine plan to allow people of color to represent their splendor in every part of the globe.
I think the school system still needs Black History Month because children need to see real role models who had a vision and determination to accomplish something in life. Today, our children’s role models are rappers and entertainers who only glamorize material possessions and devalue education. Youth need to be reminded about generations before us who overcame the impossible to make a difference in the world.  They tried to set a precedent for greatness and social responsibility. These characteristics seem to fall on deaf ears in the 21st century.
Black History Month has inspired leaders to rise and become pillars in the community. The evidence has proved itself. We have an African American man as president of the United States. Barack Obama is not the first leader to break racial barriers obviously. However, his role as commander-in-chief will make the world take another look at a black man before judging him. Obama, along with black community leaders, should make it a mission to educate and inspire our youth to take control of their destiny no matter what the circumstances may be at home.

According to Tulane Education, “A commonly held belief is that Black History Month is not necessary because black people have made no contributions to civilization and therefore have no history to celebrate. This is the result of the attitude that blacks are ‘primitive’ and ‘intellectually inferior’ to whites. The truth is that people are just ignorant of the real contributions blacks have made. Black history has been absent in schools, and when this happens the myth of black people's inferiority is perpetuated in the minds of blacks and whites.”

Continuing Black History Month and emphasizing the life lessons of our ancestors and the true value of success will make it a more important part of the lifelong learning of African Americans. They will learn the struggle is never over, the battle is never won, and retreat is not an option. Although February is the only month dedicated to learn about black history, the lessons should be taught throughout the year, intertwining its significance in world and U.S. history classes consistently.

I hope we as young adults can be an inspiration to those who may lack the guidance and faith to make smart decisions about their future. Using the triumphs of previous generations will encourage young people today to work to achieve what was once only a “dream” of a very famous African American hero.  They can strive for the “change” to believe one can achieve what one can dream.
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Photography by GMO Photo Editor Billy Montgomery
Sydney Corryn

Sydney Corryn

Sydney Corryn is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago with a degree in journalism. Her interests range from socioeconomic problems, culture, traveling, dysfunctional political campaigns, and of course, Chicago's nightlife. She hopes to use her communication skills and passion for community issues to create a career for herself.  She will be teaching English in Chile for six months starting the end of June, 2012.

Sydney can be contacted at Sydney@glossmagazineonline or sydneycorryn0829@gmail.com.