Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Negro History Week Reborn

"Negro History Week" reprinted from the Journal of Negro History (vol.11, no.2)

The following is an excerpt from the minutes of the Proceedings of Spring Conference of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, Petersburg, Virginia, March 30-31, 1926, detailing the first observance of Negro History Week.

The observance of Negro History Week proved to be one of the most fortunate steps taken ever taken by the Association. The celebration made a deep impression. The literature was early prepared and it was distributed in time throughout the country. Easily understood, the idea was readily taken up at centers where some thought is given to social amelioration and wherever special efforts are being made to elevate the Negro. Ministers, teachers, social workers, and business men rallied to the support of the movement and made it a national success.

You didn't think we respectable negroes would let Black History Month go by without comment did you?

Yes, we were a little late. Yes, we are defying the white man's conventions of time and space through our radical action of inserting Black History Month at the end of February and running through to a little into March. Yes, we procrastinated.

Starting Thursday keep your eyes open for our personal reflections on just what is Black history. Next week we will be sharing our own version of the PBS series, African American Lives.

For now, reflect on James Baldwin's observation that:

"History is not a procession of illustrious people. It's about what happens to a people. Millions of anonymous people is what history is about."

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