Black History Month got its start as Negro History Week in 1926 when an educator named Carter G. Woodson set out to recognize black history’s important role in the American story. Fifty years later, Negro History Week became Black History Month.
But now, more than 85 years after the first celebration of black history, some critics argue that Black History Month is no longer relevant. On her Huffington Post blog, Akilah Bolden-Monifa called it a “farce” and argued that advertisers and book publishers have commercialized the celebration to boost sales of everything from books to liquor.
“Black History Month has become a ready-made excuse to ignore African-American history and contributions for the other 11 months of the year,” Bolden-Monifa said. “It's little more than a bone to throw to us.”
Black History Month is richly celebrated in Atlanta at contests, galas and film festivals, but would Woodson recognize the 2012 celebration of black history?
Or has his goal of recognizing black contributions to history been elevated to a reminder that racism and prejudice should have no place in today’s America?
Share your thoughts with us in comments.