29. Black History
⁹Here at Blatant-ish, with hosts that are white people of privilege, we are committed to continuing to evolve, become educated, and use our platform to educate others. It is important that we both celebrate Black History during the month of February, but also lift black voices, struggles, and joy throughout the year. Black history is American history, and at Blatant-ish we advocate for the continued teaching of such in its entirety, and not a watered down version that some elected officials are proposing. We believe that teaching the struggles, pain, and injustices of POC in our shared history allows us to reflect and learn from our past, otherwise we are apt to continue to perpetuate these injustices in the future. Thank you!1
Segment 1 - Origins of Black History Month
Black History Month is a time where we recognize the key roles, contributions, and sacrifices of African Americans throughout U.S. history. This month-long observance grew from an initiative by Carter G. Woodson, a brilliant and highly accomplished son of slaves, to honor the heritage and achievements of African Americans with a week-long celebration in 1926. In 1976, President Gerald Ford designated February as Black History Month, urging all Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since 1976, every American president has designated February as Black History Month and endorsed a specific theme. Today, countries all over the world also dedicate a month to celebrating Black History Month.
Why We Should Celebrate
Here are four reasons we should all, regardless of our own heritage, celebrate Black History Month, along with a few suggestions for how to celebrate:
It Celebrates Diversity - Black History Month does not just promote diversity; it celebrates diversity. Promoting diversity is bringing awareness to the idea that we are all diverse and we all have something to contribute. But when we celebrate diversity, we are conveying the idea that diversity is beautiful. A celebration goes beyond recognizing the achievements of African Americans. It publicly honors these men and women. It tells their wonderful stories in a way that makes us realize how they have impacted our lives—how our lives would not be the same if these people did not take risks to accomplish amazing things.
It Unites Us - Celebrating diversity and recognizing its beauty brings us together. It helps us to learn about people from different cultures and backgrounds, and to understand how we are all connected. And finding this connection unites us.
It Takes us Beyond the History Books - Throughout school, we take some form of history. Typically, in our history textbooks, we focus on the “major players." Oftentimes, they leave out lesser-known figures that have accomplished incredible things. Rather than letting the history books tell us who is important, we can celebrate special months like Black History Month to give us an opportunity to learn about other historical figures that have impacted our lives and world.
For example, in history class, you probably have studied about Thomas Edison and the light bulb. But do you remember a guy by the name of Lewis Howard Latimer, an accomplished inventor and engineer who helped Edison by creating a longer-lasting filament for the light bulb? Or Elijah McCoy, a member of the National Inventors Hall of Fame who held over 50 patents? Even today, we acknowledge the impact of his inventions with the phrase, "the Real McCoy," which means "the real thing."
It Helps Us To Understand The Importance Of Our Stories - Black History Month is about sharing and celebrating the stories of countless men and women who made a difference in our world. Some achievements are noted more than others. But all of their stories reveal how they changed the world...and how we can, too.
Segment 2 - Black Leaders, Celebrities, Historical Figures
In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first Black, first South Asian American, and first woman Vice President of the United States. She continued to make history by hiring the first all-woman senior staff for the vice president’s office. Prior to the White House, Vice President Harris served as the first Black American Attorney General for the state of California.
A scholar, professor, and activist focusing on civil rights, constitutional law, race, and gender equality, Doctor Crenshaw coined the term “intersectionality” in the 1990’s. Though the term is relatively new to the mainstream, intersectionality both explains and addresses the challenges Black women face as part of two demographics simultaneously: race and gender. Her groundbreaking work on this topic was influential in drafting the equality clause of the South African Constitution.
The first Black senator from Georgia, Rev. Doctor Warnock is the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Rev. Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was also a pastor. Rev. Doctor Warnock is also the first Black Democrat Senator from the South since the Reconstruction Era.
Dubbed ‘le Mozart noir’ (‘Black Mozart’), the Chevalier de Saint-Georges is remembered as the first classical composer of African origins. Born to a wealthy plantation owner and his African slave, Saint-Georges was a prolific composer who wrote string quartets, symphonies and concertos in the late 18th century. He also led one of the best orchestras in Europe – Le Concert des Amateurs – and former US president John Adams judged him “the most accomplished man in Europe”.
Florence Price was the first African-American woman to have her music performed by a major symphony orchestra – in 1933.
Segment 3 -
Call to Action (CTA)