By Will Kawalec, Cultural Program Educator
This February marks the 48th year of Black History Month here in the United States. The monthly celebration was the brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson, who lobbied for the creation of a Black history celebration more than 50 years before its official adoption, in the 1920s!
February marks a time to pay homage to Black achievements and contributions to not only our nation but the globe. This celebration raises awareness and shines a light onto African-American triumphs, though it is time to celebrate Black excellence not just during the month of February, but throughout the entire year.
Histories regarding minority and/or objectified groups should be taught every day, not just during specifically defined months.
Here at Explore & More, we want to celebrate Black history all-year long. This might seem obvious to many, although, from an educational standpoint, programming often falls into a pattern of repetitiveness where children are often taught the same things at the same time year after year.
Even more damaging is that teaching Black history is something that is not mandated nationally as it varies on a state-by-state basis.
It is my hope that we can break this trend, and supplement cultural education for children across our community. So, as Black History Month should be something that is celebrated and paid attention to, we must carry that energy throughout the year and encourage education about topics like Black history every day!
This is supported by various educational experts who all emphasize the benefits educational values of regular cultural education:
“Black history is important for all students because most of the things that happened in history are still happening today.” –via the ACLU
“An authentic commitment to teaching Black history year-round includes instilling rigorous sight in Black students and all students. Simply knowing names, places, and dates without generating inquiry to inspect the societal conditions and investigate power dynamics to manifest purpose isn’t teaching Black history. It’s business as usual.” –via Edutopia
“We do not live in a monocultural or monolingual world, so these children who will become decision-makers in the near future need to understand a society that not only includes persons that look like them. If we can teach about all folks, our country will become a better place.” –LaGarrett King via UBNow