February is designated as Black History Month (BHM) and is an annual celebration of achievements by Black people and their central role in U.S. history. However, despite this being made an official memorial through U.S. legislation, not many aspects of BHM are recognized, which is a desecration to the Black people who made the existence of this country possible. Greater awareness of the overall significance and history behind BHM needs to be made among the general public to honor the struggles and innovations of Black people.
Black people in the U.S. have suffered and overcome some of the most gruesome experiences that people anywhere in the world have seen. They were enslaved by white plantation owners in the early days of the nation, and despite the efforts of those who sought freedom for Black people, like Abraham Lincoln and Federick Douglass, they remained under the thumb of oppression in the era of the Jim Crow laws. Even to this day, in a time where true equality strives to be the goal, Black people are still not seen as equals. Such a travesty is reprehensible and serves to further highlight the importance of understanding the meaning behind BHM. Continuing this ignorance of Black people’s stories does not bode well for any reconciliation that needs to take place for everything they have endured for more than 300 years.
Many everyday items, as well as scientific and technological advancements, were developed and made possible by Black people. For example, the light bulbs that are used today are not identical to the ones that Thomas Edison perfected. Rather, modern light bulbs contain a carbon filament that was created by Lewis Latimer, which enables it to last longer. In the medical field, Dr. Charles Drew found a way to separate plasma and red blood cells and store the two components separately to enable greater storage times, which gave way to the development of the first blood bank. These inventions show that many conveniences in modern times only exist as a result of the work done by Black people, making BHM all the more crucial in honoring Black people for their dedication to advancing the world.
In conclusion, BHM needs to be made as big a deal as holidays like Christmas or the Fourth of July, as it dedicates a full month to commemorate the marvels and the perseverance of Black people throughout U.S. history.