Black History Month beyond February

The study and appreciation of Black history shouldn’t end when February does


The website BlackPast is a resource for reliable information about African and African-American history

Kara Dwyer, Assistant Editor, Opinions

Black History Month was first decreed as a national observance in 1976 by President Gerald Ford. As explained by Ford, the month calls for all Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Most can recall learning inspiring stories about Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman in school each February. Apps and websites change their logos, speeches are given and articles are published to highlight and inform others on the struggles and triumphs of the black community. Despite this, many believe it isn’t enough. As black filmmaker and journalist Dawn Porter stated in her article “I Think Black History Month Should Last All Year” for Reader’s Digest, “Confining the history of an entire race of people to a 28-day period not only diminishes the significance of their contributions but also allows the greater truth to be erased.”

Although Black History Month helps clear the stage for black voices to be heard more loudly, education and understanding of Black history should continue farther than March 1st. Still, many people are unsure of where to start. Here are a few award-winning black-owned websites that many find helpful:

For an overall hyperlink of dozens of sources to continue to educate yourself from the 1500s to the present, check out this reliable website. At BlackPast, you can learn how to find reliable websites beyond those provided. It was awarded the Charles Payton Award for Heritage Advocacy in 2011.

Black Lives Matter is as strong as ever, and the movement’s website helps explain its goals and demands for an equitable future. It explains how to spread the word through social media and provides frequent news updates on the movement. 

Facing History is a website dedicated to confronting lesser known aspects of American history and helping students and teachers shift the world in a positive direction. There are hundreds of different categories and subcategories about both current events and historical resources in the form of blogs, articles, webinars, and more. 

The New York Times magazine’s 1619 Project, which created controversy among a number of conservative lawmakers when it was first published for “brainwashing” students about America’s past, is another excellent resource that re-examines history in terms of the impact of slavery. Project editor Nikole Hannah-Jones argues that every facet of American life–from the food we eat to the way our cities are mapped–has been determined in some way, shape or form by slavery.

“…only by telling true stories do we have a chance to eradicate not only racist behavior but also racist thought. We have to face head-on the untrue idea that only White people contribute substantially to our country’s cultural, scientific, ­legal, and other advances,” Porter explains. By understanding Black history, we are understanding human history. Black History Month does not have an expiration date labelled “March 1st;” racial inequities don’t end as February does. Celebrating and appreciating each other is essential to creating a better future for all of us.