If the idea that a single month has been allotted to celebrating the myriad accomplishments of African Americans in art, film, music, cuisine, science and politics seems a bit odd to you, well, it’s because it is.
After all, black history is American history. Shouldn’t it be taught and celebrated year round?
Sadly, in 2016, there are many in America who do not see the importance of acknowledging the contributions made to this country by over 41 million Americans. Even worse, there are those who believe African-American history should not even receive a month’s worth of focus.
The complete lack of black actors and actresses receiving Oscar nominations at this year’s Academy Awards is just one of many recent examples of black achievement being undervalued in our country.
We at The Gatepost are proud of our University for the plethora of black history events that have been scheduled at FSU this February.
In an email sent out by Chief Officer of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement Sean Huddleston on February 1, the complete lineup of Black History Month events was shared with the FSU student body.
Comprehensive and unique, the events will explore fascinating topics such as the indelible mark the music of hip hop has left on our nation’s culture and the deep connection soul food has to the African-American identity.
No event is more informative and revolutionary than the faculty-led Black Lives Matter teach in, which will run from Monday, February 22 to Friday, February 26.
The brainchild of FSU professors Xavier Guadalupe-Diaz, Lina Rincon and Virginia Rutter, the teach-in will feature 76 faculty members teaching 135 different classes in 20 academic disciplines.
What makes the Black Lives Matter teach in so brilliant is how it will expose students to various aspects of African-American history in their very classrooms.
We at The Gatepost have never shied away from pointing out how underwhelming student turnout often is at FSU events. If students choose not to attend the screenings of “Soul Food Junkies” and “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes” by award-winning documentarian Byron Hurt, or choose not to hear the sounds of Grupo Fantasia’s African drums, that’s on them. But at least during the last full week of February, FSU students will have their classrooms transformed into workshops focused on raising awareness about the often-marginalized and ignored truths of our nation’s history.
While the editors of The Gatepost are impressed by the efforts made by faculty and administration to celebrate Black History Month, we sincerely hope these thought-provoking approaches to educating students continue beyond February and throughout the entire academic year.
After all, black history is American history.
That is something which should not be confined to just one month.