Black History Month Loses Ground in School Curriculum

Jakia Edmonson

jamika W

From the marching of their feet and the bass in their voices, to the violence of people who disagreed, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X all played a role that led to a more equal society where people of all races could begin to collaborate together as one.

February 1st through February 28th, Black History Month, is reserved for honoring many African American activists around the United States, many of which have contributed to the rights of African Americans.

Transitioning from elementary to middle school, education on Black History Month started to fade away. Many teachers would just play “My Friend Martin,” a short film about Martin Luther King’s road to legacy, but this didn’t actually touch on Black History Month. Some students had no clue about the purpose of Black History Month, just showing a film didn’t help them understand more. This left students who didn’t know about Black History Month clueless.

Today, with how our world is broken, you would think knowing about history would be important, but not many care as a result of the lack of education on the subject. Many won’t take the time to learn about Black History on their own. These challenges have made Black History Month a ghost and often a topic ignored in schools.
In elementary school, “Martin Luther King Day” however was a day off school that was celebrated for the legacy and life of a man who brought hope to America. This celebration did not continue in middle school or high school, KPS students now attend school on this day.

Many people would argue “Why take school off when is what MLK wanted for us?” This is true. In middle school, we started the trend of going to school on MLK day. This left many of us unsure about our American history, Black History itself, and wondering why we weren’t honoring MLK. This has taken a toll and shows the educational system as insensitive.

“I feel like I know a bit about black history but not enough, and although we have a month dedicated to us, not everything is spoken on or taught about. Especially throughout the educational system,” said senior Marcell Bell.

Bell feels that it’s unfair that schools don’t touch base on Black History Month and doesn’t like that it isn’t taught to the students as regular curriculum throughout the school year.

Bell also said, “It’s as important to history as anything else that has happened on American soil.”

“It’s not fair, we always are told ‘never forget 9/11,’” said Bell. “Yet when the horrendous history of black people becomes a topic of discussion, we’re told “let it go” because it happened so long ago.”

Listening to the opinions of other students and how they feel they know little to nothing about Black History Month, it seems as if the month should be structured with required events as part of the school curriculum.

“I feel that I’m not educated enough on Black History Month, and I feel like being black we need to know about our roots and what black people went through,” said senior Natasha Mahonie.

Some teachers don’t acknowledge Black History Month in the classroom which makes students feel as if it isn’t appreciated. Another concern is educators just look at the negatives and suffering of American blacks. It can be expanded in many different ways like knowing that many people chose to sacrifice their lives to heal and reconstruct America. Many legacies of great people fought for African Americans. Caucasians and Hispanics are part of the fight for all of us to mix and unite as one, in equality and leadership for the people.

We, as people, should come together to push Black History Month back into the educational system to educate our young about key cultural aspects of being African American.