By Sumaiya Malik
Each year Americans set aside February also called Black History Month to focus on historical hindsight on the contributions that people of African descent have made to this country.
Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States observe the month annually as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora.
Americans have officially celebrated Black History Month since February 10, 1976, when President Gerald R. Ford established it as a national observance in an address that lauded its founder, African-American historian Dr. Carter G.
Dr. Carter Woodson, known as the father of black history, was the son of former slaves.
He worked his way out of the Kentucky coalmines to become a Harvard-educated historian and journalist.
Disheartened to discover that history books excluded the black experience in American life, he took on the challenge of writing a proud and true African-American history into America’s national consciousness.
Why everyone should celebrate the Black History Month:
1. Celebrating Black History Month allows us to pause and remember the stories of African Americans so we can commemorate their achievements.
2. Celebrating Helps Us to Be Better understand the privileges the American society has gained.
3. It helps break unfair stereotypes and assumptions and provides the chance to focus on different aspects of the African American narrative.
4. It helps provide other groups the opportunity to learn about a past and of a people of which they may have little awareness.
This year’s theme - Right to Vote
The year 2020 marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement.
The year 2020 also marks the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) and the right of black men to the ballot after the Civil War.
The theme speaks, therefore, to the ongoing struggle on the part of both black men and black women for the right to vote.
Things to do in Austin to honor the month:
1. Kris Graves: Testament Project – Jan 14 to Feb 29. Free. Central Library Main Gallery.
The Testament Project is an exploration and re-conception of the contemporary black experience in America.
Opening Reception & Artist Talk Sunday, February 2, 2020, 2 – 4 PM.
2. Let Freedom Ring! Black History Month Community Sing Along — Saturday Feb 8 from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. George Washington Carver Genealogy Center.
This community sing along features musical selections inspired by the Black History Month theme, “African Americans and the Vote.”
The sing-along will feature vocalist and Song Leader Kristen Trotty and the Texas Preparatory School Choir.
3. Black Fashion Extra — Saturday, Feb 22 at 7:00 p.m. George Washington Genealogy Center.
Black Fashion Extra seeks to promote inclusiveness by breaking through boundaries between consumers and the forces of the fashion industry.