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The United States Celebrates Black History Month

  • Kim Lewis

This month, February is Black History month in the United States, a time, designed to highlight the achievements and contributions of African Americans. Nick Charles, the editor-in-chief of a website geared toward the African American community called AOL Black Voices says that it is of great significance that a month is devoted to reflecting on the history of the struggles and accomplishments of African Americans. He said, “We have this month and we’ve had it for awhile—for so long. So many achievements of African Americans were not acknowledged or celebrated. So we have this month to remind not just our community, which celebrates our history and culture all throughout the year, to remind others that our history is also their history. We must find ways to better acknowledge the influence and celebrate black culture throughout the year. I do not think we should discard this month that means so much to so many.”

As to why black history isn’t incorporated more extensively into American history classes, Charles said, “There’s a big vacuum when you’re talking about history being taught in the country.”

He said that the contributions of Asian Americans, Native Americans, African Americans and immigrants of the turn of the century (20th) are missing from history textbooks:

“George Washington cutting down the cherry tree – the basic stuff is still there. But a lot of the thornier issues—issues of slavery, indentured servants, issues of racism, issues of sexism, issues of homophobia—all of these issues are not in the history books,” he said.

Charles said a recent poll taken by AOL Black Voices in association with the Associated Press regarding whom African American’s look to for leadership showed that civil rights leader Jesse Jackson came out on top. Some others who came out on top were Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Al Sharpton and Oprah Winfrey.

He said the poll in his opinion shows that blacks have more faith in celebrities than in elected officials. He says this may be attributed to the frustration among black voters over the slow pace of rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina over a year ago. For more information visit http://blackvoices.aol.com

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