“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”
—Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American female astronaut
“Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” — Unknown
“Africa’s not a colour- it’s a place.”
— Trevor Noah
“From my point of view, no label, no slogan, no party, no skin color, and indeed no religion is more important than the human being.”
— James Baldwin
“No one ever talks about the moment you found that you were white. Or the moment you found out you were black. That’s a profound revelation. The minute you find that out, something happens. You have to renegotiate everything.”
— Toni Morrison
Black History Month, (African-American History Month in the U.S.) takes place in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States. The months are dedicated to remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated annually in the United States and Canada in February, and in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Republic of Ireland in October.
In 1926, American historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced that the second week of February would be known as “Negro History Week”, because it coincided with the birthday of Abraham Lincoln (12th February) and of Frederick Douglass (14th February). Black communities had celebrated these dated together in the United States since the late 19th century.
The organisers were hoping to encourage the teaching of the Black American history throughout public schools. From a slow start, and with some persistence, the movement grew. According to Wikipedia, by 1929, Negro History Week was met with enthusiastic response; it prompted the creation of black history clubs, an increase in interest among teachers, and interest from progressive white people. Negro History Week grew in popularity throughout the following decades, with mayors across the United States endorsing it as a holiday.
Black History month is a bittersweet period. Perhaps it hasn’t quite found it’s groove yet. It’s hard to look back at slavery at the same time as celebrating blackness. It really is. But awareness is overall a positive thing.
In Brazil, Dia da Consciência Negra (Black Consciousness Day) is on November 20. It is a day “to celebrate a regained awareness by the black community about their great worth and contribution to the country.” Members of “Black Movement” organise educational and fun events to change the perception of Africans’ inferiority in Brazilian society.