Black History involves the history of slavery, civil rights, and the trauma Black Americans faced throughout the years. However, Black history is also about the beautiful depths of its culture, the food, the growth, and the joy of the many accomplishments and attributions that the black community has made throughout history.
It was originally created in the United States with the intention to be a week-long celebration, but it became a month. Carter G. Woodson, a historian, wanted a bigger celebration surrounding the topic of Black history. He thought that not many African Americans knew their heritage or the achievements of their ancestors, what they had done for the world.
Woodson chose the month of February because it was the month that both Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas were born, two men that Woodson thought had made many accomplishments for the Black community. He sent out a press release about turning it into a celebration for every state in the United States. With the help of Woodson, it became a month-long celebration of the history of African American culture, dances, food, and the impacts on society today.
Malden High School started with its first week of celebration to talk about inspirational Black Americans that have made remarkable achievements. Principal Chris Mastrangelo stated that the whole plan of Black History Month was to build momentum and he thought it was a great opportunity to put a spotlight on Black history.
Mastrangelo, in coordination with a group of teachers, said they wanted to put a theme for each week and they had planned it out of different histories of successful black people throughout the years. They created resources for students and teachers to read about certain topics of Black history, “to not downplay [the] importance to American history.” The group wanted to dig deeper and go beyond the more well-known figures like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., and Malcolm X.
Although there have been efforts made, there are still many Black Americans that are not talked about enough in schools. It should be taught rather than be the limited amount of information that is taught to students in schools, not really as highlighted as it should be, it is instrumental in what is American history.
Advisor of the Black Culture Club, Kristy Magras, agrees. She explained that “Black History Month is an opportunity for America to see and highlight black history.” Magras also said that “Black history is a part of American history.” It should be taught with more depth than what is typically taught to students in schools.
The Black Culture Club is not only for black students only; it is an open space for many people who would like to be allies to the Black community and support the Black Culture Club. “If you don’t celebrate it yourself no one is going to do it for you,” Magras stated.
The club does not only talk about Black history but about the culture, the food, the dances, and how black Americans come together. It is appreciating what brought the community here, by coming together and sharing their experiences that they all had and where they’re in our journey. It’s helpful to have someone that has the same skin color and understands what is going on in the world and how it affects one another.
Mastrangelo believes that Black History Month is an incredible time to “[shed] a light to [the] people who made great contributions to where we are as a country,” adding that “this one month is the month to shed light on black Americans.”
Black history will always be important every day, week, year, and decades to go on; celebrating the life, joy, and creativity of African Americans rather than celebrate just one and one topic only. It goes back to when Black Americans were in Africa being kings and queens.
Malden High School celebrated the first week of Black History Month by focusing on the many empowering people who also used their voice in history, and they will always be remembered.