Column: There's more to black history than MLK
I work in the education field and currently at my internship, all classes have been assigned to create a board about Black History Month. They must feature influential African Americans in sports, science, activism or the arts. I thought this was such a good idea! Think about all the African Americans who have contributed to history and now the students would have the chance to be exposed to such excellence. You might imagine my disappointment when I heard five teachers say they were going to do a board on Martin Luther King Jr.
First things first: I love MLK and everything he did. As a black person, what he did for our people is historic and will never be forgotten. He moved mountains and changed the world with his resilience, his words and his passion. However, MLK didn’t do it by himself.
In education, we talk about MLK and his peaceful protest but we don’t give Malcolm X credit. We don’t explain how his saying “any means necessary” wasn’t about violence, but empowerment and freedom. We talk about Rosa Parks and her refusal to get off the bus but we don’t talk about Claudette Colvin, the woman who did the same thing nine months prior.
Black History Month is supposed to be about celebrating all black history, mainstream heroes and the unsung warriors. We should be talking about all the inventions and artistry and celebrating us as a people. There were so many others who stood up, fought the good fight and made enormous contributions to society. And frankly, I just want them all to receive the recognition they deserve.
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