During the first term of Barack Obama’s presidency, my then 8-year-old daughter asked a simple question. “Why do Black people have a special month?” I responded with a mini-lecture on the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Jim Crow and the efforts of the Harvard-educated historian Carter G. Woodson, who championed Negro History Week. She calmly took it in and responded with another question: “When the bad men were kidnapping people from Africa and turning them into slaves, was the president Black?” I laughed, although her question made perfect sense. The only president she had known was Black; so why couldn’t a Black person have served as president prior to the Civil War? Afterward, I found myself reflecting on her underlying point. Why, in modern America, do we even have Black History Month?
Black History Month is a century-old relic — one we still desperately need
February 13, 2023