Black History is American history. Every February, we learn the American history that must be central to any true study of our country.
And, this is not a lesson for February alone. The history of Black people, and of the influence Black people have on this nation, cannot be contained within 28 days. We know that Black history is not a set of facts that we must learn solely to further the important goals of diversity and representation.
Black History is American history.
So, as we learn Black History year-round, we unlearn the lies perpetuated across generations. We think deeply about who and what made this country what it is and what it can be.
Black history is American ingenuity and innovation. You see it in Lewis Latimer patenting the first carbon filament for the electric lightbulb. It’s there as Ruane Jeter invented the first digital toaster. You can hear it when Chuck Berry created Rock-n-Roll.
Black history is patriotism. It is remembered in the countless soldiers who fought in the Civil War, the World Wars, and every military engagement since. Brave men and women protect our country even as it denies them basic rights and freedoms. Their legacy is our history.
Black history is the ongoing American pursuit of truth and justice. You can track it through Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks. It is evident in the push for civil rights, and for environmental justice, and the campaign to end mass incarceration. We pursue truth and justice when we assert that Black Lives Matter. It’s the pursuit of happiness, of freedom, and becoming better and more aware as a country and as a people that is core to who we are.
Throughout our history, there were and are Black people pushing the United States to be a better, more just, and freer nation.
But it is not enough to celebrate all that Black people have done for this country in the face of oppression and injustice. We must also examine that oppression and injustice. And how it must be disrupted. That too, is a vital lesson of American history.
For inspiring moments in Black History and American History, follow our Instagram this month.