Black History Month – A Project

It’s February. Black History Month is upon us again. *rolls eyes* Huey Freeman (of Boondocks fame) summed it up best when he said:

Every Black History Month it’s the same thing – the Underground railroad and George Washington Carver. Like nothing else ever happened to black people!

The next frame of the strip then shows the teacher bringing up MLK and Rosa Parks as Huey shakes his head in disgust.

I’m with McGruder on this one. True, it’s good to learn about African American history from the roots of slavery to the triumph of Civil Rights. But the focus is all too often narrow, the topics clichéd, and the point missed entirely. Plus, I haven’t seen too much emphasis on black folks since Civil Rights except to update us on those in the movement who are still alive.

Back in high school there was a Black History Month essay contest sponsored by the Postal Service to promote a new stamp. G W Carver’s, I believe. My teachers encouraged me to send something in because I was a well-known good writer (it was an urban public high school – I was easy to spot). Already disillusioned with BHM, I decided to write an anti-essay. Instead of waxing poetic about MLK or Harriet Tubman or even Richard Wright, I wrote about my personal black history. I told how my Uncle Buddy kept our family history alive for us as one of the family’s favorite storytellers. If you wanted to know how someone was related to someone else (plus a few off-color anecdotes about them), you asked Buddy. If you needed entertainment at a family gathering, you ‘got Buddy started’. I concluded that the black history that really mattered to me was my family history.

I won the contest.

That was over ten years ago and I haven’t thought about it in a long time. But something sparked the memory this morning. (It was probably that awesome BHM bit on the Daily Show last night.) And I thought that instead of posting the same old and tedious BHM posts or even the anti-BHM posts, let’s make Black History Month useful again. What black folk do we hardly ever talk about yet deserve to be remembered if not celebrated? What recent history is worth exploring? And what is your personal black history? I would love to hear stories about people’s families. Either stuff you remember or stuff you were told. How did your people contribute to history? How were they affected by it?

So seriously, this is the Black History I want to explore this month. Post this on your blog, pass it around, email your grannies and cousins for material. Recommend some books, dig up some history, have fun!

Then come back here and tell me about it. Oh, and tag your posts “Our Black History Month”

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20 Responses

  1. That is an awesome idea. Maybe I should do something like that next Latino Heritage Month. ‘Cause all we ever get is Cesar Chavez and…um, wait, I know there’s someone else…mmm, nope. Unless you count George Lopez. Which I don’t.

    Hell, I’d rather have casinos too.

    P.S. Glad you’re back at the Comics Curmudgeon. Hope you’re still rockin’ that Finger-Quoting Margo shirt.

  2. This is an amazing idea. I’m gonna help spread the word at my place and participate as well. Be warned though, I’ll keep participating for some time to come. Every month is black history month in my book. :)

  3. […] so happy to see The Angry Black Woman back to blogging. She’s got a good idea for Black History […]

  4. I just posted about this over at my place and the thought of a carnival came to mind. Let me know what you think. I’d be willing to help set one up if you’re interested.

  5. […] so happy to see The Angry Black Woman back to blogging. She’s got a good idea for Black History […]

  6. Hey, Vegankid and I have a new plan in the works based on this post. Email me and I’ll let you in on it. You need to be a part of this.

  7. I’m in; this is an excellent idea.

  8. And for the record, I love your carnival idea, kevin :)

  9. […] It All Began Things move fast in the blogosphere. A couple days ago, The Angry Black Woman posted an assignment for Black History Month. The assignment was simple enough. It was a call to make Black History Month useful, pertinent, and […]

  10. […] It All Began Things move fast in the blogosphere. A couple days ago, The Angry Black Woman posted an assignment for Black History Month. The assignment was simple enough. It was a call to make Black History Month useful, pertinent, and […]

  11. excellent idea. i’ll put this up at my blog. very nice, concise articulation of the problem.

  12. This reminds me of when I was going to a fly-by-night art school in Philly in the late ’70’s-early 80’s, using up my social security money before I reached the cut-off age. The director wanted us students, most of which were Black, to make posters of notable Blacks for the window. I drew a portrait of Ntozake Shange. I don’t remember the number of times I had to explain who she was, in spite of her having an award winning play at the time, and the book and soundtrack were in every book and music store. They almost didn’t put it in the window among the usual Booker T. Washingtons, and MLK’s…

  13. 365 black history in my neck of the woods.

  14. […] The Angry Black Woman laid down a challenge: write about Black History Month without falling back on the school standards of the underground railroad, Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. […]

  15. ABW.

    Thanks so much for this wonderful idea!

    I have linked and posted your suggestion at my blog.

    Yeah, I second sailism:

    BHM is 365 days a year.

  16. What about “women’s history month?” Haven’t women ever done anything worthwhile? Oh, I guess not. Black history is fine, but I think there is another big segment of the population being completely left out of the picture.

  17. Women’s History Month is in march, dude. The fact that you don’t know that makes you the bigger ass in this equation, methinks.

  18. A book for Black History Month, from Canada to the USA about
    a black man living in Canada. Title: “A Struggle to Walk with Dignity” ISBN: 978-0-9784982-0-7. Get all the on this book from
    the web above, with my thanks. You won’t be disappointed you
    took a look. Good reading with the facts and history within my own family. This Book is causing quite a BUZZ in Canada and US readers must also know about it too.

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