A Look Into Black History Month: 2021

A+Look+Into+Black+History+Month%3A+2021

Black History Month began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is an annual celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. The celebration of Black History month started in 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery in the United States and from then on, every American president has designated February as Black History Month since 1976.

Through the year of 2020 with racial injustices present, this year’s celebration of Black History Month was significantly important. Efforts were made to raise awareness regarding our Black American heroes and their impacts on our society today. 

Some well known heroes include Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman. Frederick Douglass was born an enslaved person but was taught how to read as a young boy. When he reached the age of 20, he escaped to New York, a free state without slavery; from there, he spoke at many meetings for abolitionists and was able to share his experiences as an enslaved individual. Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist and never backed down in his stand against racism. Rosa Parks took actions in refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a bus, which sparked a movement. Throughout her life, her refusal to give up her seat inspired many others to fight for Black American rights and helped advance the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s. Harriet Tubman is well known for risking her life as a ‘conductor’ in the Underground Railroad, which led escaped enslaved people to freedom in the North. She also served as a spy for the Union during the Civil War.

Apart from these well-known heroes, there are many other Black Americans who have forever changed our community and impacted our society. Black History Month serves with the purpose of acknowledging all these amazing individuals and recognizing their accomplishments and achievements. 

To gather information regarding PCHS students and their understanding of Black History Month, we conducted some interviews. Catalina Angelo, a senior at PCHS, says that during this year’s Black History Month, she learned that it is a month for Black American individuals to be truly proud of how black people around America have changed the world. She goes on to say that Mr.Huff, a teacher at Panther Creek increased awareness of Black History Month by “allowing students to pick a black person and every day, someone would present that person and we would learn about their achievements and about their life.” In regards to Catalina teaching others about new information this month, she indicates that she is not extremely knowledgeable about the month herself but took a step back and decided to listen more than teach this month. She also shared posts on Instagram with her followers and wanted to spread knowledge about how Black Americans have achieved many things. Catalina goes on to say that she believes the importance of this month is to “recognize and appreciate just how much black people have dealt with, achieved, and changed our world. They have done so many amazing things for the world and it is important that we take a month to open our minds and push ourselves to learn more about the black community.” Lastly, Catalina thinks that the political climate has had a large effect on the importance of Black History Month. She believes that, “It has made Black History Month even more important as we learn to appreciate everything black people have fought for for years now. It makes me realize how important it is to support each other during hard times.”

It has made Black History Month even more important as we learn to appreciate everything black people have fought for for years now. It makes me realize how important it is to support each other during hard times.”

— Catalina Angelo

Olivia Stark, another PCHS student, said that she also has learned a lot of new things this month about black history. Similar to Catalina’s teacher, Olivia had a teacher that had everyone in the class create a slide for a black musician, athlete, actor, etc. of their choice and talk about who they were and what impact they’ve had on the world or in their community. Olivia said that she was able to teach others about black history this month by talking about “Simone Manuel, the first African American woman to win an olympic gold medal and from the platform she has received from her achievements, how she has been able to become an advocate for a push in more diversity within the swim community.” She goes on to say that the importance of Black History Month is that it is “a time to celebrate all the great influences of ours and past generations and to recognize those who have been silenced over hundreds of years and have had to experience great adversity among racial and social injustice.” Olivia finishes off with saying that, “After this past year and all of the injustice and hatred that was brought into light from a local and federal level, celebrating Black History should not just get a month but should be recognized and celebrated regularly.”

After this past year and all of the injustice and hatred that was brought into light from a local and federal level, celebrating Black History should not just get a month but should be recognized and celebrated regularly.”

— Olivia Stark

Black History Month is one that serves a great purpose. Although the month of February is dedicated to acknowledging these individuals, they deserve to be recognized daily. Without these heroes, we would not be the country we are today. As times have changed and continues to advance, America and the world as a whole must continue to become a just and equal society for all individuals. This begins with the celebration and acknowledgement of our fellow Black Americans. 

(Featured image source.)