Black History Month should not be just a time to celebrate African Americans who have paved the way for us all to thrive. It should be a time to challenge the stubbornly persistent tendency to teach Black History as a footnote to American history. We should commit to telling the complete and vibrant story of a complete and vibrant culture to both students and adults. - Sachel Harris (Communications Manager, The New Teacher Project)
The following summary is provided to TED by TEDxYouth@MVHS
Okalani Dawkins is a passionate Sophomore excited to create a better world through her passion for Civil Rights. In this talk, she highlights the importance of African American societies in America's history past the Civil Rights Movement, and why we need to pay more attention to matters like those as well.
This talk was presented to a local audience at TEDxYouth@MVHS, an independent event.
In elementary school there were three times of the year I got really excited about; when we studied dinosaurs, the planets and Black History Month. To me it was a time of pride, we got to learn about Black Americans and there was a whole month dedicated to everyone in the school learning about "my people". We wrote our paragraphs on the one person we chose to research, colored our Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks coloring sheets and even had Black History Month programs for our families to come see.
I still get excited for Black History Month but now that I am no longer in elementary school it comes with sadness too. While I want there to always be a Black History Month I also want the lives, stories, accomplishments and the overall Black Excellence of Black Americans to be taught right a long with George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Black history is more than Slavery and more than the Civil Rights Movement. Black Americans helped build this country and have made monumental contributions to the advancement of America that everyone needs to learn about. Black History is American History and 28 days is not enough to account for the extraordinary impact that Black Americans have had on this country.
I no longer have the joy of being among classmates learning about the greatness of Black Americans but I do get to be Unapologetically Blackity Black Black for a full 28 days!
Want to learn more about Black Americans and their impact on America?
Take a look at the following booklist featuring the newest books on Black History and Black Americans:
Letter by letter, The ABCs of Black History celebrates a story that spans continents and centuries, triumph and heartbreak, creativity and joy.
#OwnVoices at Richland Library is a way for African American staff to provide thoughtful and well written book reviews, book lists and blog posts to promote African American authors and their work about the African American experience. The series invites our customers to learn one more way we are continuing the conversation in our community and speaking our voice. Find more resources on race, equity and inclusion, here.