At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality
By Henry Ayala
Today, I’m going to write about why we emphasize the learning of Black history during Black History Month and the argument against “Black History is American history”. It is an argument well said in recent times, but in my humble opinion people are viewing it from the wrong perspective. What I want you to gain from this essay is a changed perspective from Black History Month to what it actually is, Black Awareness Month. Prior to 1926, most people learned very little about the contributions of black people in American history. We learned about slavery, sure, and the underground rail road, but not so much about a broad range of important black people and their achievements and contributions and impact on our shared history. History books ignored a lot of things for various reasons, and the reasons behind ignoring the contributions of black people in American history were pretty obvious when you look at our culture and history up until at least the 1960s. So the point of it was to establish the legacy of a beaten race in their rightful places in the pages of history books and in the national dialogue of American history. A more thorough and detailed picture of the past is a good thing in terms of figuring out how we got to where we are now, not a harmful thing. Not many people realize that learning about Black history is an ongoing process of rehabilitation of the Black psyche. As an enslaved race they had been destroyed, reduced in society to the level of draught animals. And even after the abolishment of slavery their role was largely a dehumanized and devalued one. If you know anything about psychology, devaluing and abusing someone tends to make them devalue themselves, lowering their self-esteem and making them think they deserve abuse and can't be as good as others and don't deserve good things. Think about abused children, beaten wives, ostracized kids at school, etc. So part of the goal of it was to...
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