As the Black History Month series on Transatlantic Notes comes to an end, it's critical to understand that there's so much more that could be celebrated. Black American achievement, resiliency and the national and cultural impact they've had on this nation are not confined to just a few people or a small noteworthy number of events. Black history is American History and it shouldn't be restricted to a month or be taught as an elective or seen as a sidenote.
Throughout this series of articles dedicated to Black History Month on Transatlantic Notes, we've encountered and learned about some incredible people. Often overcoming the all-pervading reach of racism within American society and the generational trauma it inflicts, there have been trailblazers, innovators and influential African Americans who have both challenged and changed this nation for the better.
History is filled with pivotal moments within the political arena that have either pushed forward or held back racial and social progress in the United States. There are many decisions and events that have shaped the journey to justice, equality, diversity and civil rights.
Black history is filled with people who innovated, educated, inspired, advocated and challenged. There are so many achievements (often despite significant oppression or personal danger) that have been the forerunners of shaping progress in the United States. Black history and those who created glorious moments of change have often gone unnoticed or spoken of all too quietly.
February's Black History Month is a great time to expand our knowledge and understanding of the significant impact that Black Americans have had -- and continue to have -- in shaping this country. Often whitewashed or having its truths and perspectives misrepresented (sometimes deliberately), Black history in the United States is frequently viewed as a sidenote in a White narrative.
There are many notable figures and achievements to study during February's Black History Month. But with no federal standards or requirements to teach Black history in the U.S. (only a small number of states mandate it) ... is America's reconciliation with its past actively progressive or performative?