It has now been 41 years since Black History Month was officially recognized within the government by President Gerald Ford.
The idea of celebrating the history of successful African-Americans first started in 1926, by Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History.
This month holds importance because of the homage paid to African-Americans for their role in history and the knowledge this country can gain about their strong efforts.
“There are different stereotypes about black people and how they act, but not everyone knows the history of what they have done,” said Jessica Henson, junior kinesiology major.
Textbooks educate students on leaders in the African-American community such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman. Yet, the success stories of African-Americans who made a change in history is not limited to those figures.
“The history of African- Americans goes beyond what we are taught in history classes. There are so many influential figures that I did not learn about when I was in school,” said Lauren Jackson, sophomore psychology major.
Black History Month is not a celebration limited to only African-Americans but to all people from all backgrounds and cultures. It was a group of students at Kent State University that first sought to stretch the celebration to a month rather than just one week.
Students at California Baptist University have been using the same initiative to spread awareness about the Black History Month on campus.
In collaboration with Community Life, the United club has hosted several events in honor of the month including their main showcase , The Dream Event.
“This month is very important to highlight because we acknowledge the struggles that African-Americans have faced while also showing the victory that they have as a whole,” said Danielle Mayon, senior business major and president of the United club. “That’s the purpose of the event, highlighting Dr. King’s Dream in a positive light.”
Black history is American history. African American figures and inventors have made changes that not only affected their own people but all Americans. It is not a time to seek validation but rather to acknowledge the ones who paved the way. The celebration will continue throughout the month.