Why Black History Month is important

by Olubunmi Olatunji, Program Director

Someone once asked me “Why do we need black history month?” Here are a few responses that come to mind: 

  • Because nonblack people still ask if it is ok to say the n-word
  • Because people are still trying to touch my hair
  • Because an all-black cast (RE: Black panther) was considered racist

Black History Month has served in the US as a way to remember Black people’s introduction to the Western world through slavery. As a young person, I used to disregard the importance of Black History month as I was told it was stupid, too short, and/or racist, and we only ever talked about four people: Abraham, Malcolm, Martin, and Rosa. But Black History is extensive and it is not just the last four hundred years but beyond that involving the history of our home, Africa. Knowing the past can open the door to the future; but what happens when an entire people do not know their past, cannot celebrate their accomplishments or be recognized for their achievements and contributions to our society? That is why today I use Black History Month to magnify the magnificence of Black people in America.  

“We’ve been enough and we always will be enough” Taraji P Henson