Editor’s Note: Over the next several days, Pass The Chalk features posts in honor of Black History Month. We do so in full recognition that any day, week, or month, set aside to commemorate the history and experiences of a group of people runs the risk of siloing those perspectives in the oeuvre of shared human experience. It is not enough to talk about black history for one month out of the year. But in shining a spotlight on the perspectives and experiences of African-Americans in the coming days, we seek to lend ourselves a richer vocabulary to better understand the challenges and hopes of our shared human condition.
This post was originally published on The Monitor and has been reprinted with permission.
In 1926, historian, philosopher, and scholar Carter G. Woodson declared the second week of February as "Negro History Week."
With the birthday of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass falling in that second week, it was only appropriate to celebrate a history systematically left out of curriculum and national consciousness would occur when the nation was celebrating the lives of two freedom fighters. Woodson’s original intent was that this week would no longer need to exist when Black History was justly represented in the story of America.
Ninety-three years later, I am pushed to consider two questions: Why does Black History month matter? And why does Black History month matter down here in the Rio Grande Valley?
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Children near the Washington Monument.] Photo by U.S. National Archives and Records Administration via Wikimedia Commons