By Skylar Brown, Contributing Writer (‘25)

Commencing in the early 20th century, Black History Month is an annual celebration of the achievements of African Americans and a time to recognize their contributions to society, as well as provide a reminder to take stock of where racism persists and give visibility to those creating change. Black History Month, otherwise known as African American History Month, originated from “Negro History Week.” NHW was initiated by Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard-trained historian, who believed that the teaching of black history was crucial in enabling the study of race within society. Woodson thus founded an organization dedicated to researching the achievements of Black Americans and others of African descent.

When exploring the past, oftentimes, many people focus on the challenges and sufferings black people have faced. Although these sufferings are imperative to acknowledge, learning about black excellence should be given an equal opportunity to explore. It is important to acknowledge black pride and accomplishments, along with their hardships and challenges. History generally focuses on the victories of the cisgender heterosexual white man, though that is only part of the story. During Black History Month, one can contribute their time to honor the struggles and successes of the black community, especially those erased from history. Supporting black entrepreneurs is another way to give directly to the black community—during Black History Month and in general. By supporting black-owned businesses, individuals are contributing to an impactful form of economic empowerment. To further support black companies, literature is a vital way for marginalized communities to claim ownership over their stories and experiences. One can commit to supporting the work of black writers by merely seeking to purchase books by African American authors, throughout Black History Month, as well as the rest of the year.

Black History Month is supposedly a month intended to focus on the history, experiences, and triumphs of black people; however, the month has been deemed in many cases problematic. Though it brings awareness to African American history, it confines the history of black people and culture into a four-week period. Regardless of the limited time provided for Black History Month, this does not mean the acknowledgment and support of black peoples should be confined to this one month. Black history is just as much a part of history as any other event or period, and can not be wiped off the slate. Not only should black excellence be celebrated at all given times, but it also should be acknowledged daily in national history.