We're Teaching Black History Month All Wrong


February 22, 2021 | by Emma Olson

Guest Writer: ShaRhonda Knott Dawson

About the Author: ShaRhonda is a Black woman unafraid to speak the truth about racism. She writes on diverse topics, such as: politics, education, current events, and social justice. She is also a taco enthusiast, a proud member of the Bey-hive, and truly believes that she will be receiving her letter from Hogwarts any day now. She is also the Program Committee Chair on Access Living’s Board of Directors.

We’re Teaching Black History Month All Wrong

Black History Month (originally “Negro History Week”) was started by Carter G. Woodson in 1915. He had a very simple theory to promote the liberation and success of Black people: Black history has to be taught without centering Whiteness. That is why Woodson created his own teaching tool, “The Negro History Bulletin,” for children to learn about Black history. (You can view a page from “The Negro History Bulletin” here.)

Woodson’s idea was to teach Black folks, especially Black children, about the achievements of Black civilizations and Black people, independent of Europe or White people. Woodson was critical of all people who internalized White supremacy, both White folks and Black folks. In his critically-acclaimed book, “The Miseducation of the Negro,” Woodson blasts “educated Black folks” for their role in perpetuating racism because of their own miseducation.

Woodson argued that true education must be honest about where you have been, where you are and where you can go. For the past 400 years, “education” for Black people in America has been about our relationship to Europe, starting with slavery.

BLACK HISTORY, FOR AND BY BLACK FOLKS, HAS SUCCESSES INDEPENDENT OF EUROPE—AND IT DOES NOT BEGIN WITH SLAVERY. Black History, for and by Black folks, has successes independent of Europe—and it does not begin with slavery.

So what should Black history celebrate? Read the rest of ShaRhonda’s blog post on Black History Month on her website.

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