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February is an opportunity for people of all races to celebrate Black History Month

February is an opportunity for people of all races to celebrate Black History Month.

From activities sponsored by various departments and organizations at Tech to a number of events at Grambling State University and in the community, the area is celebrating Black History Month.

And you should, too.

Dr. Reginald Owens, an associate professor of journalism, said Black History Month is not just for African-Americans, but it is a time for all to acknowledge the achievements of a people whose history has too often been ignored. 

For blacks, an accurate view of history is the basis for group self-esteem. For others, it helps to create a more whole history.

“We have ignored the legacy out of which black history grew,” Owens said. “This is a legacy where contributions of black people were deliberately ignored and often distorted.”

That is why Black History Week, as it was first named, was started in 1926 by the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. 

Black History Week is the brainchild  of the group’s head, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, and it was begun  during a period when very little positive history was written about blacks.

Owens said the accurate study of black history can do at least two things. First, it can help build self-worth for blacks and second, for non-blacks, it can contribute to the elimination of ugly stereotypes and misinformation that have been the basis for discrimination.

“There are generations of people who think African-Americans made [no contribution to society], except in athletics and entertainment,” Owens said.

“[Black History Month] is celebrated to fill in gaps the history books have ignored.”

Owens said much progress has been made in racial relations, but more can be done.

“Certainly, we’ve come a long way, but there is room for improvement,” Owens said. “We will no longer need Black History Month when everybody can look at me and not see a black person.”

It is important for people of all races to join in the celebration of Black History Month.

The goal of Black History Month, when added to history book lessons, is to create a more complete, integrated American and world history.

Hearing versions of history from the sides of all the participants in society will project a truer history for those of us who must learn from past mistakes.

If not, as they say, we may be doomed to repeat them.

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