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  • Writer's pictureSarah Samra

The Importance of Black History Month: Recognizing Contributions and Honoring Resilience 

Updated: Feb 26

By Sarah Samra, Clarion Staff reporter


Black History Month, celebrated annually in February for decades, pays tribute to the invaluable contributions of African Americans throughout history. This month-long commemoration is a powerful reminder of the significant impact and rich cultural heritage of the Black community. 


Senior Sherston Miles is the current president of Kennedy’s Black Student Union (BSU), which meets after school on Tuesdays in room B-18. Miles shared that their main goal is to build a community that includes people of all colors, creating a safe space for individuals to come together. 


The club is specifically focused on Black youth but welcomes people of all backgrounds to feel safe and included. The club's mission is to provide a supportive environment for all members to thrive and support each other.


"I believe that studying Black history is crucial for understanding the struggles and achievements of the Black community,” Miles said. “I hope that more people will take the time to appreciate and learn about this important aspect of history."


Senior Sherston Miles, president of Kennedy's Black Student Union, promotes BSU during Club Rush.

He emphasized that Black History Month is a critical topic that people should take seriously – and that people should learn about our ancestors' struggles and accomplishments throughout the year, not just during one designated month. Miles suggested that Black History Month should be celebrated and recognized continuously.


History of Black History Month, and its importance in acknowledging the struggles, achievements, and resilience of African Americans. (Sources listed at the end.)

Historical Background: Carter G. Woodson, a prominent African American historian, established what was initially called "Negro History Week" in 1926. Driven by a deep desire to counter the negligence of African American accomplishments in history textbooks, Woodson chose the second week of February to honor the birthdays of two influential figures: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The week soon became embraced nationwide, and in 1976, it was expanded into a month-long celebration by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), becoming what is now known as Black History Month.  Congress passed the observance into law in 1986. 



Significance and Purpose: Black History Month is an essential platform to shed light upon the rich tapestry of African American history. It provides an opportunity for people from all walks of life to acknowledge and appreciate the countless contributions African Americans have made to society. Through education, events, and cultural programs, communities celebrate black heritage, fostering unity, understanding, and equality.


Remembering Past Struggles: Black History Month offers a solemn reminder of the painful struggles African Americans have endured throughout history. It allows us to reflect on the atrocities of slavery, segregation, racial discrimination, and the indomitable spirit that emerged from these challenges. By acknowledging and learning from the struggles of the past, we aspire to create a more just, inclusive, and equitable future for all.


Celebrating Achievements: Black History Month is a time to honor the accomplishments of African Americans in countless domains, including science, technology, literature, music, art, and civil rights activism. We celebrate the likes of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, and countless others who have shattered barriers, inspired change, and left an indelible mark on history. Their achievements serve as a testament to the power of perseverance, determination, and the potential within us all. 


Embracing Diversity and Inclusion: Black History Month encourages us to embrace diversity and understand the broad spectrum of cultural heritage within the African American community. The celebration is not exclusive to any race or ethnicity but welcomes people of all backgrounds to learn, appreciate, and participate. It reminds us that true progress comes through unity, empathy, and respect, as we endeavor to build a society that values and cherishes everyone's uniqueness.


Conclusion: Black History Month serves as a vital reminder of the tremendous contributions African Americans have made to our society. By studying the struggles and celebrating the achievements, we actively work toward breaking down racial barriers, promoting inclusivity, and fostering a brighter future for all. We must recognize Black History Month not just within its designated time frame, but throughout the year as we strive for a society free from prejudice, discrimination, and inequality.


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Works Cited


Black History Month." History.com, A&E Television Networks, 28 Jan. 2010, www.history.com/topics/black-history/black-history-month.


"Black History Month." Britannica, www.britannica.com/topic/Black-History-Month


"Woodson, Carter G." Encyclopaedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/biography/Carter-G-Woodson.



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