More than 28 days is a hashtag that caught my attention on Google+ during the month of February. The poster, Kymberlyn Reed, took a unique approach to Black History Month. Instead of using the #blackhistorymonth tag, she used her tag to hammer home the fact that Black History Month should certainly be “observed” longer than twenty eight days.
Ms. Reed has the right idea. While Black History Month,(just like Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and other months/observances I’m sure I’m missing), serves to highlight some the achievements of Black people, it shouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb. Black people helped build the United States, and often their achievements were either swept under the rug or stolen by whites.
When I had a classroom of eager to learn fourth and fifth graders, I certainly didn’t wait until February to tell them about what is basically the history of the United States. In addition, I made a distinct effort not go for the “easy” ones – Dr. King, Harriet Tubman and good old Garret Morgan and his traffic light.
Even if the history books don’t fully acknowledge it, Black people were and still are an integral part of our heritage here in the U.S. Without them, there would be no dustpans, ironing boards, printing presses, typewriters, automatic elevator doors, mops, clothes dryers, pencil sharpeners or gasp! fountain pens!! Not to mention, the various colleges and universities dotting our great country.
People ask – Why is there a Black History Month? Well, there shouldn’t be. However, if the contributions of all Americans were acknowledged fairly in American history books, there wouldn’t HAVE to be a Black History Month.
So if you’re on Google+, or even if you’re not, stop by and check out the #morethan28days tag. You might learn something. I know I did.