Black History Month 2012: Black Women in American Culture and History

Logo for African American History Month featuring Ella Fitzgerald

It’s February, and with that annual marker comes Black History Month. It’s such an important moment when the history of an entire community gets elevated, but also such a frustrating reminder of how every other month is white history month. When will get past this kind of marginalization?

Despite this, it is good to be reminded to dig a bit deeper and examine the specific history of a community that has been so integral to the fabric of this country. We have a lot of ground to make up for when it comes to the history we learn. In addition, the political climate has become so hostile that some states and communities are actively excluding people of color from education.

I also find it important to note Black women’s history in these moments, because sexism does impact the way Black history is told. This year’s theme has a specific focus that supports this:

This year’s theme “Black Women in American Culture and History” honors African American women and the myriad of roles they played in the shaping of our nation. The theme, chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History urges all Americans to study and reflect on the value of their contribution to the nation.

What a refreshing focus, acknowledging the real intersection of race and gender in the African American community.

One definite must read (if you haven’t already) that goes perfectly with the theme is Melissa Harris-Perry’s Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America, which Samhita reviewed in October.

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