The Decline of Black History Month

The Decline of Black History Month

Think of the month of February and a few things come to mind: Valentine’s Day, cold weather, and the Super Bowl. But there is one element missing from that list: Black History Month. For many students, February has gone from a much emphasized time for recognition of the struggle of African Americans to a time when the holiday is ignored.

In elementary school, teachers could find plenty of time to plan African American History related activities. There were movies to watch, story books to be read aloud, and poems to write. Students were able to immerse themselves in studying African American history, even for just a month. As the grades get higher, time is cut short for any activity not directly related to and High School Assessment, Advancement Placement test, County Assessment, or any other upcoming exam. In short, time for reflection decreases greatly.

Some students, like Thomas Lilly (’14), feel that they already get enough history. “We’re learning about everything in US history. We’re learning the story of American history. So I don’t feel that [black history] needs to be expressly emphasized,” he commented.

While it is true that students learn about African American figures and accomplishments in their history classes, this is not quite the same as taking a single month to take a special look at this topic.

Another factor contributing to the decline of Black History Month is the mindset of many (but not all) teenagers. Taking time to appreciate history, especially in its nuances, is rare, especially when Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Temple Run are only a couple of clicks away. This may sound like the typical ‘kids these days’ criticism, but today’s high schoolers’ lack of interest in history is obvious to anyone who pays attention.

“We talk about [black history month] in art a little bit,” said Gabe Huffman (’15). “I kind of feel like when people get older they lose their values and they don’t look back on history.

How can this situation be rectified? Just as North Point is asking teachers to promote breakfast via facts of the day and other activities, facts about Black History could be presented to classes. This would take no longer than a minute per class. Considering that this school is on a ninety minute black schedule, the loss of sixty seconds would not be detrimental. And students would learn something in addition to their normal coursework.