While reflecting on Black History Month this February, I remembered how the required reading of Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom by the late UCB professor Lawrence Levine in my undergraduate sociology class significantly opened my mind to how little I knew about the richness of African American cultural history.
On the other hand, it also triggered my recall of how two years ago, and many many years after my sociology class, I was dismayed that my son’s 5th grade American Revolution school play made no mention of the institution of slavery nor those left out of the Declaration of Independence. So, in my opinion, Black History Month is useful if it reminds people of past and present Black history and celebrates African American contributions.
Regardless of the month, I encourage you to learn more about and advocate for Black lives all year round. You can read literature on the African American experience or by African Americans, attend events that honour Black history and culture, and visit websites like the Louisiana Slave Conspiracies project, which amplify voices of enslaved participants from the past so that they can be heard today. Read more here.
~Patty Frontiera, D-Lab Data Scientist & Data Services Lead