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Has Black History Month met its end with the re-election of Barack Obama? One could make a solid case for calling a halt to the month of February as an official celebration of the achievements of Black Americans, since many of the injustices of the past have died away along with the perpetrators. In the 21st Century should not the focus be on a unified America that celebrates and acknowledges the achievements of all Americans throughout the year?
The advent of Black History month began in 1926 as the second week in February, and was known as Negro History Week. Its creator, black historian Carter G. Woodson was clear about its purpose and eventual end. He insisted at the time that the holiday be eliminated, when “black history became fundamental to American history.”
Last year, noted international author Maya Angelou appeared to agree when she explained in an interview, "We want to reach a time when there won't be Black History Month, when black history will be so integrated into American history that we study it along with every other history," according to Fox News.
Well, it appears apparent that the jury is in and the verdict is clear, the need for Black History Month has met it original purpose. Woodson’s edict was that the need for the month to continue into perpetuity was not its purpose. Black history has been mainstreamed into what it always has been, and that is; part of America’s history. Even Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman strongly asserted in a Sixty Minutes interview, "Black History Month is ridiculous… Black History is American History!"
Well it seems that Barack Obama’s election has sealed the deal on that, considering that February was chosen as the official month to honor Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Lincoln freed the black slaves and, is it not fitting that the end of this holiday has indeed run its natural course with the election and re-election of the first black president of the United States?
Americans have an opportunity to move on and stop reliving the practices and outrages of racism which once permeated every aspect of the nation’s culture. Blacks have been elected governors, and congress has growing numbers of black elected leaders. Now with a president who is black, where again is the need for Black History Month?
It is unnecessary to keep track of black achievement in areas of professionalism and other fields of achievement. These achievements are American achievements, and should not continue to be segregated or celebrated by racial designation.
The nation should be focused on celebrating the future of a united nation where racial designations have no purpose or place. If America is to truly become one nation, indivisible with justice for all, then it must do away with the categories and the special designations which continue to keep Americans separate and apart. Is this not now the spirit and practice of reverse racism?