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Opinion

Let's try something new and end Black History Month

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http://66.225.205.104/0303blackhistorymont.mp3

It's time to get rid of Black History Month. I don't make this statement lightly, and I certainly don't make it for the sake of shock value. We need to turn our focus to desegregating our history curriculums. Never before have the lines been so blurred between African-American history and American history. Where does President Obama fall? It's absurd to think that he would only be covered during Black History month. It's also absurd to leave him out of Black History Month. He's American history, and so are all other people covered during Black History Month. The contributions of African-Americans aren't trivial side notes. Yet, that's the position they're relegated to with a month that claims to take care of any oversights textbooks have historically made. You see, Black History Month largely misses important movements and battles that are part of our country's history. Yes, it covers the superstars like Booker T. Washington, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks. But so much more is lost, like the Niagara Movement or the evolution of the black press. When children anywhere in this country make it out of the 1920's era without an in-depth discussion of the Harlem renaissance, there's a problem. And it was so much bigger than Langston Hughes. You'd think this is where Black History Month shines by supplementing an otherwise deficient curriculum. But my experience with Black History Month usually consisted of a two-page book report and the singing of the Negro National Anthem in music class. Many of my friends would even recycle Black History Month papers from previous years. My experience may be isolated, but I doubt it. The fact that it could happen at all is a travesty and has demonstrated to me that students don't take it seriously. Let's learn about Africa and South America. Or let's learn about black history from before the Emancipation Proclamation. It's clearly time to try something new, but no one is willing to step away from the safety net that is Black History Month. Don't get me wrong. Black History Month was better than nothing. But it's failed if the month is still necessary more than 80 years after it was started by Carter G. Woodson. And if Black History Month is not longer necessary, then it has succeeded. Devo'n Williams is a student at Johnson C. Smith University and a WFAE intern.