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Black History Month Will Never Be Enough

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For decades the month of February has been set aside to draw attention to the contributions of African Americans, or blacks. But, Black History Month will never be enough time to adequately cover the contributions of Negroes, blacks, or African Americans—names applied during the last 400 years.

Blacks have made significant contributions in all areas of American life, from A to Z, from the Arts to Zoology and all subjects in between. Despite arriving to this country as slaves, enduring centuries of oppression and discrimination, and despite ongoing efforts to minimize, marginalize, distort, hide—even deny and destroy—blacks have played and continue to make major contributions in American history.

Black History Month will never be enough time to even put a dent in what blacks across generations have achieved for this nation, in every area of American life.

In 2020, Black History Month at best is received with mixed emotions. On the positive side, it is good that at least there continues to be a meager effort to draw attention to the roles that some key blacks have played. Historical lessons and exhibits are highlighted in schools. Communities host celebratory events. There may be a revisit of movies and documentaries on TV and in theatres.

Black History Month Will Never Be Enough

Black History Month Will Never Be Enough.
Photo Credit: Creative_Outlet

On the negative side, these activities do not even scratch the surface of the voluminous records that exist. The featured lessons, exhibits, and celebrations tend to focus on the same few most famous blacks. Only those who captured media attention because of the dramatic circumstances, often death, associated with their contributions. Those few are the focus and get the most attention.

One month of focus, which happens to be the shortest month, truly begs the question of whether it is merely a salvo, a feeble attempt to correct an egregious injustice perpetrated against an oppressed people. Black History Month will never be enough to correct that injustice.

What about the many, many black Americans who made significant contributions under less dramatic circumstances, in less sexy areas like in the sciences, medicine, mathematics, agriculture, mechanics, and a host of other areas?

What messages are we sending to the young impressionable minds of our children with such limited focus? Black history is American history. Until text books, daily classroom curricula and lessons include an accurate and complete accounting in every subject area, there is so much work to be done.

When the contributions of black Americans are put in their proper place in American history, there will be no need for designating one month out of the year as a quick fix. The stark reality is that Black History Month will never be enough to correct the record.

Feature Photo Credit: JanuszT

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Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, is an award-winning author. Her book, From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book sellers. She has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website.


  1. Mark Janeo says:

    Black history month will never be enough. Because they have significant contributions in society too.

  2. Janine Bocateja says:

    I don’t have enough knowledged about the Black History Month but after reading this article I now understand what it is. More interesting articles to come. My favorite part is the name Ellis.

  3. Prince says:

    The stark reality is that Black History Month will never be enough to correct the record, the black has been painted inferior and the little celebrated are celebrated just because what they did was obvious and was celebrated when they are dead. I just wish things can just be put properly in the history book.

  4. Wilson Jake says:

    The question of whether it is merely a salvo, a feeble attempt to correct an egregious injustice perpetrated against an oppressed people but this isnt correcting any injustice to be candid. Injustice against the blacks are getting more out there even when reverse is the case of what’s written in books.

    • Avatar photo Janice Ellis says:

      Sadly, Wilson, you are right. Even the coronavirus shows the racial disparities in this country. More blacks are dying than any other group all across the country, showing the inequities in economic opportunities and health care services.

  5. Alex says:

    I do not know much about this to be honest. However, I am aware of the history behind it. These days though that line is almost to not existent which is a good thing. It is not color that matters. Character does. I was made aware of this month thanks to Deontay Wilder though he lost that fight.

  6. Sylvia says:

    What a great informative article on this extremely important issue. Your articles are always eye opening and I look forward to more from you!

  7. Storm says:

    From Arts to Science, Medicine to Literature, the impact of black people on American culture cannot be overlooked. More sensitization needs to be done and yes I agree, a mere month is hardly enough at all.

  8. Anderson says:

    I thank God for people like you who bring up this conversation. Keep up the good work and God bless you Ellis 🙂

  9. Shantel says:

    This is a great observation to make. Actually it never hit me that Black History had been allocated the shortest month of the year. That’s something to think about.

  10. Louis says:

    I celebrate Black History all year round in my own special way. I have always been proud to be part of the black culture 🙂

  11. Teddy says:

    A whole course on Black History should be introduced to our schools. It’s sad that a lot of black history has been suppressed.

  12. Daphne says:

    In my opinion the fact that there is at least a month dedicated for Black History is a good start. Hopefully things will get better in the future.

  13. Oliver says:

    Black history has not been given its proper place. There is so much that still needs ro be done.

  14. Patricia says:

    I think we need to have a longer month for black history as opposed to the shortest month in the year. Thanks for bringing the issue to light!

  15. Meg W says:

    I celebrate the achievements of black Americans everyday. America would be a very different place if it were not for their input.

  16. Roy says:

    Indeed one month can never be enough to commemorate the tons of accomplishments black people have had throughout history. It is a good start though.

  17. Maury Cheskes says:

    Interesting insight. I’m sure there could be more efforts to recognize historic black figures. It’s definitely amazing that despite adversity, they have contributed to our way of life on so many levels and in different fields.

  18. Danielle M says:

    I agree with you, unfortunately history will never get to recognize all what Afro Americans have achieved for your nation, however in other countries like mine they don’t have a conmemorative day exept for some saints in the chatolic tradittion, all we have is a day to celebrate ethnicity and most students in schoolls don’t know why we conmemorate that day, that seems very unfair to me. I don’t know why this happen, but I’m glad that at least in your country there is a conmemorative month.

  19. Brenda says:

    I agree with you that it’s very hard to focus on black history and achievements in one month. These are issues that should be focused on in a daily basis.

  20. Oyeyipo Oladele says:

    I think when the contributions of black Americans are put in their proper place in American history, there will be no need for designating one month out of the year as a quick fix. Your research works are always meaningful.

  21. Paul Harms says:

    What grabbed my attention was the name “Ellis”. I’m something of a fan of Josep J Ellis with his analytical & seemingly “no nonsense” approach to American history. Additionally, I’m a huge fan of Thomas Sowell. I consider Sowell to be a National Treasure who is largely ignored. At age 80, raising a 9 year old granddaughter, (she is Hispanic) I dearly wish to see a “properly balanced perspective” provided for her in a world gone off the rails. I have tears as I write this.
    Everbest, Paul Harms

    • Avatar photo Janice Ellis says:

      Paul, thank you for your response to my article! It is greatly appreciated. I have written analytical columns for more than four decades, hoping to appeal to the better side of our collective humanity. I, too, have grandchildren and am deeply concerned about the world and concepts of humanity that we are passing on. Please do not despair. We must continue to do all we can. Take heart. Hugs

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