Francesca Saint Louis

Media Planning Assistant

What Is Black History Month? 

It was never something that was taught to me in school nor even addressed at home. The whole concept was brought up to me by The Cleveland Show, on the Brown History Month episode, in May 2010. 

My friends and I turned the whole thing into a joke, because it seemed silly to us that Black people needed a month of appreciation. We used to tell anybody that needed to hear it, “You have to be nice to us all month of February because it’s Black History Month.” We ended up making it a tradition to watch this episode and listen to Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony’s 1st of Tha Month (wake up, wake up, wake up, it’s the firstttttttt of the monthhhhhhh), on February 1st. 

As time went by, I decided to read a little more about the whole Black History Month. This thing, that my friends and I turned into a joke, was something bigger than us. It was a real thing. A whole month was dedicated to Black People. 

But why? 

Why was it that Black people needed a month of “appreciation”? 

It took me several years, to understand the concept.

I came to the realization that it was so our burden could be shared. All the atrocities that my ancestors have been put through, for the sake of greed, can be shared. 

Because, carrying this burden, from generation to generation, is heavy. It’s exhausting. (Ask any BIPOC, they will all tell you the same.)

I can’t require someone who isn’t in my skin to understand my burden.

As a Black person, I don’t need a month to acknowledge that I am coming from a line of warriors who freed themselves from their oppressors. I don’t need a month, to embrace my blackness, I must do so all day, every day. 

However, if I can have a non-Black person’s attention for a month and bring awareness of all the trauma a Black person must carry on a day to day, so be it.  The least that they can do is to have some empathy, some compassion, and acknowledge the wrongs that were done, in order to speed up our healing process. 

Once the healing is done, we can all move forward, tackle other injustices, and move along as one human race.