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Voices of many

Knowledge of history available year around

By The Advocate editorial board
On February 27, 2014

  • Rodney Woodson, staff writer. / The Advocate

Black History Month is a time of year with which anyone who has gone to an American school is familiar. Every February, history classes across the nation turn toward the subject of African-American history, and how it has impacted the United States.
Many classrooms will listen to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream Speech." Many will hear the stories of Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Frederick Douglass and Jackie Robinson. Yet a long list of names, a list of names far too few people would immediately recognize, will go unsung over the 28 days that make up Black History Month.
Few people likely even know how Black History Month came to be. The reason it was created was because African-American history was ignored almost completely in education. And African-American history is still largely ignored.
The fact is, the study of other cultures in general is largely ignored in the U.S. Many students will completely miss out on studying about the struggles and history of another culture.
The sad part about this is that someone who misses out on studying about another culture is missing many of the stories that can make history so exciting.
The stories of the men and women who fought tooth and nail for their own freedom, and the freedom of their children, are as heart-wrenching as they are awe inspiring. The lengths men and women were willing to go to hurt their fellow human beings is as disgusting as it is terrifying.
Students who miss out on studying another culture also miss out on the opportunity to learn more about themselves and their own environment.
If someone is a student or not, they are denying themselves a truly enriching experience by not reading deeper than the big names in African-American history.
Learning about other cultures, about the history and the struggles of another people, can only broaden one's point of view.
Students should not look at African-American, Asian-American or Chicano studies as boring or pointless because these classes can easily be some of the most entertaining and enriching classes a student can take.
Though it is too late to enroll now, students should look toward future semesters, and plan to enroll in a class about a culture that is not their own.
Black History Month provides 28 days where many history teachers choose to focus on a non-mainstream culture. The other 11 months provide students the opportunity to study the rest of them. 

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