AROUND THE BEND

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Black History Month

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Black History Month is an annual observance in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and since 2016, the Netherlands, where it is known as Black Achievement Month. It began as remembering all the people who have fought for the freedom of black people in America.
Since 1976, every American president has acknowledged February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. The Black History Month theme for 2018 is, “African Americans in Times of War.” 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the month of February honors the roles that black Americans have played in warfare from the American Revolution to the present day.
The story of Black History Month began in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent. The group sponsored a national Negro History week in 1926, choosing the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln because of freed the slaves and Frederick Douglas, one of the most famous intellectuals of his time, advising presidents and lecturing to thousands on a range of causes, including women’s rights and Irish home rule. President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
There has been a number African Americans who have influenced not only Americans, but people all over the world. This stems from underground railroad leader Harriet Tubman, to writer Frederick Douglass, and South African President and activist Nelson Mandela. With others, such as educator Booker T. Washington, and bus riding activists, Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks, and to civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., these famous individuals shaped how society is today. Without them, the past and the present would not be the same. They broke out of the “norm” that society has put them through, and during that time when society thought of them as inferior and not as capable as white people, they broke out of that mold to shape their own destinies.
Mr. Roderick Goode, Assistant Principal of Riverbend high school stated, “When I think about Black History, I think about all the contributions African Americans have made in this country regardless of their station in life where from slavery to freedom to independence and dependence.” Mr. Goode also said, “Issues of race are getting better due to access and opportunity. There’s not a whole lot of acceptance, in younger generations, from bigotry.” Younger generations are definitely more tolerant of things like race, because they never lived in an America where there were segregated bathrooms, seatings, restaurants, and schools. Maceo Christmas, an officer of The Inspiring African American Males club in Riverbend (IAAM) said, “The overall understanding of Black History Month has become more accepted into the country and even the world over the past decades or so with it being shown on television and through social media.”
Another officer of Inspiring African American Males (IAAM), Darius Dunn, Riverbend senior said, “ The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Black History Month is the failed attempt to educate all students about black history because it is never integrated chronologically into the curriculum in History classes.”
Since the beginning of time, people have been oppressed for things that they cannot control, like race, religion, and gender. For these things, many were considered inferior to the ones who had more influence over society. However, people can clearly see now that was not the case. Black people not only contributed to civil rights in order to fight for freedom, but they also contributed so much to the world with their intelligence and drive for careers in science, politics, writing, athletics, and entertainment. When certain individuals were constantly making it impossible to be anything more than what they were told, they broke out of the chains that were keeping them down and made something of themselves. These are the true success stories for future generations to comprehend.

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