St. Charles Herald-Guide

Reflections on Black History Month

By Shonna Riggs - February 7, 2007

Shonna Riggs reflects on her African-American heritage - and the month in which we celebrate it.

We are often prone to select a few African-American people who have made contributions in society, acknowledge them in the month of February and call it a celebration of blacks’ history or Black History Month.

As Carter G. Woodson, founder of this celebration said, “We should emphasize not black history but the black in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate and religious prejudices.”

The pages of history overflow with African-American heroes who alongside other races helped to build this country for all of us. Their sense of honor, duty, courage and pride exemplifies the very best America represents. They were ordinary men and women who performed extraordinary deeds in racially difficult times.

As my favorite poet, Dr. Maya Angelou said, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

For this reason, we should continue to celebrate the accomplishments of our ancestors to show our children that African-American heroes emerged in every part of this country’s history to help lay the foundation for future generations.