BHS grew from a minor “Negro History Week”, that historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History innovated. These historians wanted to bring out of the shadows and darkness the pride they had in their peers for breaking through barriers to revolutionize our country. There shouldn’t be a question about why isn’t there a “White History” month.
White history is taught every day. Black History Month is important. It’s not only people of non-color, who are uneducated about black activists and intellectuals. Black people haven’t always been taught about the people and events in the civil rights movements. In any required history curriculum, black students can learn about prominent Americans of non-color. In most entry-level history classes, African American life is almost non-existent. The only evidence of blacks in these history books is that they were enslaved and set free by Abraham Lincoln. Curriculums dedicated to the studies of African American life are only electives. Students enrolled in American history should be able to learn in-depth about their beautiful and thriving heritage just, as deep as any other non-color student would be able to.
During secondary education, how many black names were taught in social studies class? Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks are not the only black figures that helped breed a nation of inclusiveness. In many cases, black people associate being intellectual as being a white characteristic, because they don’t know of black intellectuals like Rayford Logan and his studies of post-Reconstruction America.
Again, Black History Month is important! It has always been shoved into the meager month of February. During a non-leap year, 28 days is all African-Americans get to flaunt our beautiful heritage. Every day black life, intellectuality and innovations should be celebrated. Black life is important. Remembering our struggles and how we’ve overcome is important. This should not be hid behind the controversial opinions of non-color individuals that this month is not important.
Netflix has created a resource for us to start our journey of analyzing our history. The online streaming service has provided us with documentaries, mini-series and movies that will allow audiences to go in-depth into black history. Everybody loves to “Netflix and chill”, why not use that time of relaxation to learn something and start a conversation amongst peers.
These are 9 historical pieces that will give you more activists and analytical perceptions:
- “What Happened, Miss Simone?”
A documentary about the life of the classically trained pianist and dive-bar songstress, “What Happened, Miss Simone?” gives the world a broad lens into Nina Simone’s musical genius. Simone, an activist and black power icon, became the voice of the civil rights movement. Simone wrote “Mississippi Goddam” in response to the assassination of Medgar Evers.
- The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross
Written and presented by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” explores the evolution of black from slavery to the first black president. In six-hour series, Gates shows how African Americans forged their own history, culture and society against mind-boggling odds.
- The Black Power Mixtape
Released in 2011, The Black Power Mixtape focused on anti-war and black power movements. Filmmaker Goran Hugo Olsson discovered the archived footage and decided that it was his responsibility to give a glimpse into the people that developed an era of convulsive change. Mixtape takes viewers on a musical journey into black communities.
- Mississippi Damned
Starring Dear White People’s Tessa Thompson, this is a tale of three black youth in rural Mississippi, whom are damned by their families’ abuse addiction and violence.
- Hate Crimes in the Heartland
Filmmaker Rachel Lyon explores the countless hate crimes committed in America. Hate Crimes in the Heartland tell powerful stories of survivors, leaders, activists and community members, who witnessed these crimes.
- The Trials of Muhammad Ali
This documentary follows the legal battles of Muhammad Ali against being conscripted into the United States military during the Vietnam War.
- Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train Comin’
The film unveils unseen performance footage of the famous guitarist and uses his own words to tell his story.
- Through a Lens Darkly: African American Photography
This film brings to the light hidden and unknown photos of black life and families taken by black photographers. Opening a window into the African American perspective.