Letter: Reflect on our challenges for equalityIf we ask middle-aged African-Americans if the contributions of blacks were highlighted in American history curriculum when they were growing up, we would hear a resounding no.
By: Carrie Jane Barringer, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
If we ask middle-aged African-Americans if the contributions of blacks were highlighted in American history curriculum when they were growing up, we would hear a resounding no. Historically, the important roles that African-Americans played in shaping America as a nation and as a society were left out or minimized.
It was because of this gaping hole in our history textbooks that historian Carter G. Woodson began the campaign for the recognition of Negro History Week in 1926.
In 1976, this important work was transformed into Black History Month.
Black History Month is a time for all Americans to recognize and celebrate the major accomplishments and contributions made by African-Americans throughout the history of the United States.
The fight for racial equality still exists in our society, but our modern historians have done a better job of recording the lives and work of African-American people.
Today, we have our first African-American President of the United States - a symbol to youths and adults of the incredible reform that has taken place in American society.
Nevertheless, much work remains to accomplish the goal of ensuring equal protection and due process for all of our minority citizens. In a recent Newsweek article, Harvard University Professor Henry Louis Gates and writer Raina Kelly argue that despite skepticism about the need for special recognition for Black History Month, it deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated because it connects blacks to the struggles endured by their forefathers and it highlights the progress still being made in the fight for equal justice for all Americans.
I ask everyone to take a moment this month to reflect upon America’s status as a nation that protects the rights of its minority communities, and to look at the challenges still facing us in the ongoing struggle for equal justice for all.
Carrie Jane Barringer
Carrie Jane Barringer serves on the Human Rights Commission.