From an editorial Monday in the Durham Herald-Sun:
Monday marked the beginning of National African-American History month, more popularly referred to as Black History Month.
Inevitably, some will ask in tones ranging from thoughtful to acerbic or even angry why we focus attention on black history which, after all, is just another part of the varied fabric of American history.
Surely, the historic contributions of African-Americans and their institutions are less neglected today than a century ago, when the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History was founded. The association sponsored the first Negro History Week in 1926.
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Why do we still need a black history month?
The history of African-Americans in the United States is unique – at the same time shameful and heroically resilient. Almost always brought here unwillingly, enslaved for two centuries and considered inferior, discriminated against, humiliated and often terrorized for a century more, African-Americans nonetheless contributed significantly to the history and progress of this nation.
But the larger culture’s unfamiliarity with, if not disdain for, African-American contributions persisted until the latter years of the past century and is far from erased today.
Without question, Black History Month still matters.