“My daughter deserves to celebrate her roots.”
As the (white) mother of a black adopted daughter, February and celebrating Black History Month means so much more to me.
I actually remember learning about Black History Month in school. We usually talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. and other black civil rights activists…Rosa Parks, maybe Malcolm X, too. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized how little we actually learned about black history. And while we hear the argument that we don’t need Black History Month, I believe we do because it’s another opportunity to help my daughter connect with her history.
Black History should be considered ALL of our history, but it’s not. Take the women of the new Hidden Figures movie, for example. Before the story became a Hollywood blockbuster, how many of you had heard of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, or Mary Jackson? Exactly. Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015! How many of you know that we owe the celebration of Black History Month, and more importantly, the study of black history, to Dr. Carter G. Woodson? I have a feeling the answer is, who?
And this is exactly why we need to celebrate Black History Month, educate our youth and recognize the achievements of black Americans alongside their white peers. As a young child, how great would it be to see pioneers, innovators, dancers, authors…people who look like them, of a different race blazing the trail!
We need schools to look past the few most famous black Americans and really delve into the plethora of stories that exist. And until all that happens, I’ll be spending my February’s proudly celebrating the month with my daughter, and helping her appreciate her roots while educating others. I want her to see herself and all her possibilities in the faces of people who look like her and who blazed that trail to success.