Every American owes it to him or herself to see the Ailey [company] perform Revelations. It is an American phenomenon. I’ve probably seen it countless times and every time it’s magical and spiritual and hopeful – everything that we want ourselves to be and hope that our country will be.” – Oprah Winfrey
Here at SoFreshAndSoGreen.com I aim to provide information about people of African descent you haven’t heard before or at least haven’t heard every Black History Month. Continue reading →
“It is not the style of clothes one wears, neither the kind of automobile one drives, nor the amount of money one has in the bank, that counts. These mean nothing. It is simply service that measures success.” ~ George Washington Carver
Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.” -George Washington Carver
My sister organized a talent show at a school one year and in an effort to add educational value to the mix and sell the school’s administrators on the idea she added a Black History Month Quiz. Maybe 10 questions were asked and prizes were given for the correct answer.
Time after time they answer my fellow New York City teens gave was “George Washington Carver” even after he was used as an answer already. Yeah, I know… Continue reading →
“[Woodson] literally made this country, which has only the slightest respect for people of color, recognize and celebrate each year, a week in which it studied the effect which the American Negro has upon life, thought, and action in the United States. I know of no one man who in a lifetime has, unaided, built up such a national celebration.” -W.E.B. Du Bois
“No other single thing has done so much to dramatize the achievement of persons of African blood.” -Dr. Carter G. Woodson on Negro History Week
Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson is known as “The Father Of Black History” and for good reason. He took it upon himself to write Black people into American history and championed the idea that Black people should know our own history.
In 1915 Woodson and friends established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History in Chicago. A year later he established the Journal of Negro History. In 1926, he developed Negro History Week, later expanded to Black History Month in the 1960s.
Lauryn Hill- “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill”
Carter G. Woodson was also the author of The Mis-Education of the Negro, which Lauryn Hill played on in the title of her classic album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Woodson’s book was about the conditioning of Black people in schools to remain inferior and oppressed. You can read about it at historyisaweapon.com or
So BHM started out as only a week. It was the second week in February and was intended to bringing attention to the contributions Black people have made to the US.
“Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.” ~Carter G. Woodson, the “Father of Black History”, founder of Negro History Week, a precursor to Black History Month
Every year Black History Month brings up a lot of issues for me. After a few recent conversations I decided to address those issues this entire month!
Firstly even as a child I felt Black History Month was poorly taught. Maybe that’s a given if you’ve ever had to sit through an awkward white teacher trying to make a classroom full of Black kids understand the need for a Civil Rights Movement or benefits of slavery.
Not to be left out, I also take issue with Black adults who don’t offer Black children the same rehashed Black History stuff in sporadic bouts with even less context than what is offered in school. Saying things like “People didn’t march on Washington for you to have your pants sagging” is absurd. “Young people need to read more” also useless unless you’re willing to offer a serious reading list a comment like that should be left out of conversations with young people.
The History of Black people on this planet is too important a subject to be so mishandled every year. Dragging out the old MLK “I Have A Dream” speech for children to see once a year is a criminal. Shaving that man’s life down to one speech does us all an injustice everywhere.
KRS-One- “You Must Learn”
This is why they call this guy “The Teacher”.
Here’s a few of my issues with BHM itself:
All this talk of BHM and more of my peers learned who George Washington Carver was than Carter G. Woodson who started BHM in the first place.
Why does George Washington Carver get to be so popular for all the wrong things?
We were allowed for far too long to perpetuate the idea that BHM was the shortest month of the year because Black people just can’t catch a break in this white man’s country. As kids I doubt we were ever taught how BHM got to be in February in the first place. Continue reading →