Black History Month: 365

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The African Centered Education Movement has brought a new meaning to the annual African American History Month celebrations that have become so popular. That new meaning of African Centered thought, as defined by Dr. Wade Nobles, “is nothing more than a term categorizing a quality of thought and practice which is rooted in the cultural image and interest of African people and which represents and reflects the life experiences, history and traditions of African people as the center of analyses.” With this definition it is clear that we must study the liberation of African people.

Through the African Centered Education Movement, African American History Month has now become the catalyst for the intense study of Africa and the history of African people throughout the world 365 days a year. We must pay particular attention in our studies to the history of the Reparations Movement.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who founded in February 1926 what at that time was called “Negro History Week,” would indeed be inspired by the continuing discussion and debate over the infusion of the contributions of African people in all subjects.

Woodson’s book The Miseducation of the Negro (1933), described in the first chapter titled, “The Seat of the Trouble,” the essence of what the African Centered Curriculum Movement is battling against today- 79 years later.

Woodson explained that, “Of the hundreds of Negro high schools recently examined (1933) by an expert in the United States Bureau of Education only 18 offer a course taking up the history of the Negro, and in most of the Negro colleges and universities where the Negro is thought of, the race is studied only as a problem or dismissed as of little consequence.”

Woodson gave an example of, “an officer of a Negro university, thinking that an additional course on the Negro should be given there, called upon a Negro Doctor of Philosophy on the faculty to offer such work. He promptly informed the officer that he knew nothing about the Negro. He did not go to school to waste his time that way. He went to be educated in a system which dismissed the Negro as a nonentity.”

The Black Movement of the 1960s gave an impetus to reexamine our history and its impact on this country and the world. This movement brought on renewed interest, on the part of our people, to study our history.

There is no question that the setting aside of the month of February, as an extension of Woodson’s original idea of “Negro History Week” is something that we need to continue to support and institutionalize vigorously.

We must take the spirit of African American History Month to another level. Our history must be studied throughout the year!

-Dr. Conrad W. Worrill

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