Black History Month

Ryleigh Bernhardt, Staff Writer

When we were younger, Nickelodeon or other cartoon channels would promote Black History Month on TV. Channels would play commercials or shows educating viewers on landmark events or African Americans who shaped history. Watching these channels was a big influence on our mindsets concerning Black History Month. There were no outside influences or sources that would’ve taught us more because it wasn’t shown or talked about enough. So let’s learn about it. 

Black History Month is a month to honor the successes and struggles of African Americans and to honor important influences. Historian Carter G. Woodson created this celebration, and it started off as only a week in the month of February.This week later turned into a month-long celebration in 1976 and has been celebrated annually since. 

One of the most influential black leaders is Martin Luther King Jr. who was an important activist for the civil rights movement. He became one of the most important spokespersons and led many speeches fighting for civil rights when no one else would. In Dec. 1955, King along with Rosa Parks and other activists planned a bus boycott in Montgomery. This lead to the end of all forms of discrimination on buses.

Parks was a huge feminist and social activist. She gave courage to so many people. Sitting in the back of the bus even when it wasn’t allowed made so many differences in our society. Simply sitting in the back of the bus as an African American woman took strength and determination, and it inspired others who wished to do the same. This also led to the boycott held in Montgomery with King. 

Although Parks and King are the figureheads of civil rights, there are many lesser known activists who did just as much like Fannie Lou Hamer and John Lewis.  and plenty more. Hamer was an African American woman who started fighting for civil rights just when she was six years old. She worked to abolish racially-biased voting in the South, 1962. Hamer traveled along with many other African Americans to a courthouse to vote despite dangers surrounding the idea. It got her fired from her only job, but only increased her strength, along with many other supporters. Though Hamer was influential, so was Lewis. Lewis was not only an American politician but also a civil rights activist. He was arrested many times after participating in non-violent protests as segregated lunch-counters. After helping with the March on Washington in 1964, the Civil Rights Act became law. 

There are a countless number of activists who have fought for civil rights for African Americans, many who are unknown despite their achievements like Lewis and Hamer. This is why we continue to celebrate Black History Month and remember inspiring African American activists because no one knows about these activists who risked everything to make a change. It’s time to speak up, teach about these activists in our classes during the month of February. Even if it isn’t in the curriculum, Black History Month should be taught in our history classes. This month was created for a reason, so let’s celebrate it.