February 22, 2008
Black History is American History
~ written by Hope M. Sharett
Black History is American History. That simple sentiment bears repeating. I was born Negro to Colored parents and am myself the parent of an African-American toddler. Despite the variety of labels used to describe my family’s ethnicity I proudly claim Black History as my own. If you too are American, I encourage you to do the same regardless of the label donned upon you at birth, because Black History is American History.
I look forward to each February and the celebration of Black History Month as a time in which attention is turned toward the historical achievements of African Americans. The devotion of a month to this reflection remains necessary even if the typical grammar school American History text now contains more accurate reflections of Black History than in years past. The integration of Black History into standard American History texts has vastly improved, much to the credit of proponents of Black History Month who work to make recognition of the contributions of African-Americans mainstream; but generations, including my own, have matriculated embracing an abridged American story.
Black History deserves contemplation whenever we reflect upon the American experience. African Americans have claimed with voice, pen and blood the rights of American citizenry paving the way for full enfranchisement of all Americans. Black History is American History. The story of my people exposes the shame and glory of our nation and challenges all Americans to make the most of our freedoms. At this very moment as the possibility of an African-American Presidential nominee emerges I see Black History and American History once again converge. Can you?