This post was written by Cynthia Albert. Cynthia was born in New York, United States, where she still lives. She has a BS from MIT and MS from Georgetown University School of Medicine. She picked up a writing career about 6 years ago, and still enjoys it!
When we talk about Black History Month, we’re talking about that time of the year where we celebrate the African American history, culture, and noteworthy individuals. The month of February is dedicated to the celebration, which was made possible by historian Carter G. Woodson. Initially, only the second week in February was used to celebrate. This was because the birthdays of Frederick Douglas on the 14th and Abraham Lincoln on the 12th were covered by the second week in February.
From the mid-1920s to the late 1960s the one-week celebration, originally called “Negro History Week”, slowly gained track and popularity. Black History Month was suggested by black teachers and the “Black United Students” body in February 1969 at KSU. The inaugural celebration of Black History Month commenced from January 2nd to February 28th in 1970. This took place at Kent State in the U.S..
Since it’s first, early celebrations, Black History Month has been recognized in a myriad of forms. From small town parades, to large broadcasted events, communities all over the nation have gathered to honor the contributions made possible by the black and African American communities. And despite a global health pandemic, Black History Month will be honored by several virtual celebrations this year.
The effect of coronavirus on the black community
In the summer of 2020, the whole world was faced with the debilitating effect of the COVID pandemic. The pandemic also took its toll on the African American populace as well as the rest of the world. Students of color were badly hit by the pandemic, and felt its effect on the educational system. It was a scary time in the world as many people lost their families, students lost their parents, and their lives to the pandemic.
This article was published on The National Geographic. The author goes ahead to list out several states and counties that were reporting racial data on the impact coronavirus had. At the time, almost a third of infections nationwide affected the African American populace that were only 13 percent of the entire population. In more than 12 states, African Americans had a high percentage of victims affected by the virus.
We realize the effect the pandemic had on the student populace and we try our best to help. We want to make sure you have every tool you need to make remote learning accessible.
Why is Black History Month even more important today?
The theme for Black History Month this year will be, “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity”. In a very conventional way, family is defined as people that are related to you by blood. But in a much more real sense, your family are the people that have had a positive impact in your life.
In the past year, a lot of families got destabilized and were affected by the coronavirus pandemic. A lot of people lost individuals that meant a whole lot to them. Black History Month 2021 represents a time to pause and remember them. It’s the culmination of a moment of reflection, to take stock of what you value. The theme of this year implores our nation to consider the gap in representation of the African American and black communities in the United States.
As students, we should celebrate Black History Month. But we should also take a step back and reflect. Let us be glad in the sacrifice of our forebears, and what they made possible for us today. We should also look into what is possible today because of their efforts.
Because of the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions for safety, Black History Month will be celebrated virtually. Everyone is encouraged to join online, including you! There are so many ways to get involved this year. ASALH, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History will host a free, virtual festival filled with a ton of insightful, fun activities. Learn and share knowledge about the African American heritage, the contributions made by those from the past, and the incredible work being done currently.
Take time to honor those in the black and African American communities that add to our nation’s rich, intricate history.