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Black History Month by: Abbey Pardue

February is Black History Month in the United States, and there is no better time than the present to celebrate the heritage and legacy of black brothers and sisters.

The development of Black history month began in 1926 when scholar Carter G. Woodson wished to set aside a week dedicated to the recognition and celebration of black voices and contributions. This took place during the second week of February each year and was called “Negro History Week.” Over time, through the Civil Rights Movement and pushes for further equality, Black Americans in West Virginia began to celebrate a full month of black history, and this practice quickly spread across the country, creating what we now know as Black History Month.

When celebrating black history, it is important to recognize the steps taken to achieve the equality we have now, as well as steps we must continue to take in order to make space for black voices to be heard and welcomed. Some of us may not have been alive during the times of slavery, segregation, or severe inequality, but that does not mean these things are irrelevant to us. Racial reconciliation begins when we are open to learning about the history of different races. I cannot claim that I care for my black brothers and sisters if I refuse to acknowledge their ancestral hurt. 

Not only is it important to acknowledge the painful history of black Americans, it is also crucial to recognize the contributions black men and women have made to our society. Most of us know names such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and George Washington Carver, as their contributions to American society were crucial. However, there are thousands and thousands of names that have made major contributions that are never recognized. Sarah Boone, a child of slaves who escaped through the underground railroad, invented the ironing board. In 1940, Dr. Charles Drew developed the first blood bank and became the Director of the American Red Cross Blood Bank. Garrett Augustus Morgan is recognized for his invention of a three-way traffic light, as well as a life-saving “smoke hood.” Without the innovation of Black Americans, we would be lightyears behind our current levels of technological, societal and political understanding. 

Lastly, it is important to celebrate all of God’s children, who are his handiwork! Romans 10:12 tells us that there is no difference or separation among believers. God’s children are united through their father, and there is no deeper connection than this. Ephesians 2:14 says: 

“For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.”

This declaration is a cause for celebration. Learning about and seeing black history for what it is allows us to break down barriers that divide us. We can also celebrate freedom and equality for black brothers and sisters, for what is better than the unity and freedom of God’s Children? This February, take some time to learn about black history and open your mind to celebrate black voices and contributions.


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