photo courtesy // Wikimedia Commons

By: Leshay Jones: Editor in Chief.

It’s February, so we all know what that means: it’s that time of year where we recognize African Americans and their contributions to American culture.

When I was younger, I used to think of Black History Month as something great; something that should be celebrated hardcore. Don’t get me wrong, I still do, but why only a month?

Why should our culture be compacted in to one month, and the shortest one at that? This has been something that has been argued for years by the African American community.

Black history should be celebrated every month. We should always be learning about our background, where we come from, what we have done and what we continue to do and African Americans play a huge role in all of that.

We should be supporting each other’s goals and supporting black businesses. This is something that we should do all year round, not just during Black History Month.

When Carter Woodson first founded Black History Month, it was huge, especially for African Americans. It has grown into something bigger than anyone ever could have ever imagined; so much so that every President since Gerald Ford has recognized this month as something beneficial to all.

But why don’t we have that support all the time? Why can’t we teach kids about Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. in March, April or June?

Have you ever noticed in elementary school how the smallest section in the history textbooks was about black history and the teacher would always covered it in February?

On occasion you would see some black guy in the corner of your book with a little biography that the teacher skipped over.

Why don’t we spend more time talking about the hardship of African Americans in the early stages in the development of this county? Why don’t we talk more about how strong black men and women fought to overcome the systems of oppression that are arguably still in place today?

I’ll tell you why: guilt. No one wants to look back at how the founders of this country brutally discriminated against blacks. No one wants to remember how thousands of innocent people were lynched all because of something as simple as the color of their skin.

Let’s face it, white people screwed up and they know that they did. So, they try to make up for it by helping us celebrate black history during this one month, but after that they lock it up in a chest and throw in the attic until next year.

When this first came about, this was all that black people had; so they took it and ran with it. They wanted people down the line to remember where we came from and all that we have been through so that we can pass the torch along. But not just during February.

I celebrate my culture and every month. I try to remind myself every day where my people have come from and how the system is not always for me. I remind myself everyday to stay woke. I remind myself to stay strong and work hard because of the blood, sweat and tears that my ancestors put in for me to be where I am today.

One month is not enough, and it never will be. There is too much history around African Americans that cannot just be stuffed in 28 sometimes 29 days. I don’t see anyone celebrating White History Month because we talk about that history all the time.

We all know who George Washington is, but not as many people would be able to tell you about Carter Woodson.

No matter where you come from or the color of your skin, celebrate your culture as often as you can. Celebrate who you are and where you come from, and do not let anyone make you forget about your history.