Black history is important. We sit in this predominantly white newsroom in a predominantly white neighborhood in a predominantly white section of Pennsylvania and tell you black history is not only important to African-Americans, but should be to everyone.
As journalists, it is our responsibility to present the news in an objective manner. If an important event happens, we have to quote more than one source. Printing halftruths or articles from one perspective would be misleading the public.
Likewise, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves and our children, those in our school systems and beyond, in an objective manner. Learning history without the black experience is a half-truth, a skewed, oneperspective version of past events.
Sanitizing history by changing lines, omitting events or keeping our children from knowing the entire story is self-defeating. For every child who is shielded from knowing the facts, there is another who will ask or wonder how black people just spontaneously appeared in the world when their history book hardly mentions them.
February is an opportunity to educate or reeducate oneself on the importance of blacks in history. Carter G. Woodson did not create Black History Month just so television stations would have to create ethnically correct commercials and public service announcements.
We also believe he did not create it to be completely ignored or observed only one month out of the year. Woodson may have hoped by setting aside time to observe the achievements and actions of blacks throughout history, teachers would supplement their lesson plans with the involvement of blacks and the impact they had on historic world events.
So, Black History Month should be used for what it was meant to be: 28 days to discover what black people have contributed to the world and maybe to share your newly found knowledge with a friend or student. It’s important.