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Black History

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Music of Malcolm X

Music of Malcolm X

Black History is dominated by the history of how Black people arrived in the USA, South America and the Caribbean in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and the challenges they faced including slavery, racial segregation and oppression. The African American history is well documented and is studied in curriculums across the world. But it is important to knowledge that Black History is world history and not isolated to the USA or African Americans as in is the history of Black people across the world including Africa, Australia, Europe, South America and the Caribbean. Black are now present on every continent in the world and each nation has its own history on how the African Diaspora came to be and the history of their Black people. Black History has been documented to celebrate the struggles and how the Black people in America and other parts of the world have had to fight for freedom and equality. This effectively has led to the famous Black History Month, which is celebrated in several countries including the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. As well as celebrate history, it helps younger generations learn the cultural aspects of Black people, such as music, dance, literature and the pioneers in different fields. In recent times, Black History Month has also been used to highlight the challenges the Black community are still facing and to discuss solutions, such as how to end issues like police brutality and racial profiling.

Black people, the African diaspora are present in every continent. Black History is a vital part of the worlds story going back many centuries. There is evidence of African people in Roman Britain as far back as the 3rd century AD, and black communities have been present in what is now known as the UK since at least 1500.

In Africa, Black History revolves around how Africans overcame slavery and other injustices that they began to face from White settlers as early as in the fifteenth century. The continent overall does not observe any Black History Month, but each African nation and its people are deep rooted in history and it is embedded in culture.

The USA is arguably the country that acknowledges and celebrates Black History more than any other because of the connection with historical Black legends and the goal of the accomplishing the American dream described by Martin Luther King Jr., for the African American people. Slavery and racial profiling were rampant throughout the history of Black people in the USA and because of prominent figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, progress on equality began in the country.

In Europe, Black people’s history is thought to have begun in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. We tend to link the migration of people from Africa to Europe back to the slave trade when we talk about it. However, it is considerably older. Since antiquity, people from the African continent have lived in the Roman Empire. Renowned figures, such as Emperor Septimius Severus [145-211], Saint Augustine [354-430], and Apuleius [124-170], migrated from North Africa.

Black History helps us to reflect on the connections between the past and present. It is importance to know the history to have a better understanding of what is happening in today’s world. Black history matters to everyone. It is a crucial part of the world’s history. Each nation has their own version of Black History and it really should be made part of the nation’s history teachings. Many nations have been accused of suppressing Black History. With a failure to include it as part of their identity by way of removing it from school curriculum, museums and gallery walls. The sins of the past are often forgotten and omitted from a nations political and societal concerns.

Black History is important to Black people and every race because it shows us the struggles that most people underwent in their quest for equality. We realise the significance of equality in society by learning Black history and why we should put humanity and human rights before anything else. The struggle Black people went through while fighting for equality should motivate this generation and future ones to continue promoting equality in all aspects of life. By adding this subject in curriculums, we will be preserving critical historical events that led to significant revolutions worldwide and making sure that future generations learn the past struggles that led to the freedom they will be enjoying.

There are many stories within Black History. There are many prominent historical figures that played a big part in history and influenced the outcomes of historical events.

Several key black history stories define how Black people have progressed in their quest for equality and justice since the fifteenth century. The importation of enslaved people in America and other parts of the world, such as Europe, was rampant before the nineteenth century, something that defined the Black community. Racial segregation and profiling is another story that is significant in the history of the Black community because it caused them to begin their fight for equality. The revolution of Black people started in different years in different nations due to various factors. The revolution in the USA was instrumental in sparking more efforts in Europe and Africa. These important Black History stories help us comprehend the community’s difficulties and the importance of continuing to fight for future generations.

Some of the key historical events associated with the Black community in America include: in 1621, William Tucker was the first Black child to be born in America. In 1808, congress passed a legislative policy to end the importation of enslaved people effectively, leading to the slight decline in slavery in America. Nat Turner, an activist, began a slave uprising in 1831, which motivated other Black people to start the demand for justice and equality. Another significant event occurred in 1859 when John Brown led Harpers Ferry slaves to revolt in order for equal rights. President Lincoln, in 1863 issued an Emancipation proclamation which effectively elevated the lives of Blacks. In 1867, Fisk university began to offer education to ex-slaves and Blacks while in 1870, Blacks were allowed to take part in elections. 1963 saw more than 200,000 people take part in a demonstration in Washington to demand equal civil rights (Simmons et al., 2019). The same year saw Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give his “I have a Dream” speech. This consequently led to President Johnson signing civil rights Act of 1964 and in 1965, he signed the voting rights act.

The history of Black people could be different if it were not for heroic figures who sacrificed everything, including their lives, to fight for justice and equality of the Black community. Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman to be elected into congress and represented the 12th district of New York City from 1969 to 1983. Another key figure is Annie Lee Cooper, who played a significant role in the 1965 Selma voting rights, allowing Black women to exercise their voting rights. Because of his civil rights advocacy, which resulted in a decrease in racial segregation, particularly targeting Black people in the United States, Martin Luther King is undoubtedly the most iconic figure in Black history and American history. Other key people in black history include Malcolm X, an activist fighting for equality, and Barbara Johns, a teenage civil rights crusader who equally helped in racial desegregation in schools in the Us. President Barrack Obama is a prominent figure because of his victory in 2008 meant that he was the first African-American to become the president of the United States.

Other historical figures include:

  1. Dido Elizabeth Belle
  2. Sarah Forbes Bonetta
  3. James Chappell
  4. Private Arthur Roberts
  5. Mary Seacole
  6. Ottobah Cugoano
  7. John Richard Archer
  1. Karakousis, P. C. (2021). James McCune Smith: Medical Doctor, Anti-Slavery Leader, and Prominent Intellectual. Black Surgeons and Surgery in America, 32.
  2. Simmons, G. D., King, L. J., & Adu-Gyamfi, M. (2019). Developing a black history and black studies course using a black historical consciousness framework. Oregon Journal of the Social Studies, 7(1), 52-66.
  3. Gore-Felton, C., Khan, C. T., & Njenga, J. (2020). Make Black history core to degrees, tie tenure to anti-racism efforts. Nature, 583(7818), 683–684.
  4. Holloway, M. L. (2018). “Hear My Voice:” Stories of Black Women and Girls in a Historic Black Town—ProQuest.
  5. King, L. J. (2019). Interpreting Black History: Toward a Black History Framework for Teacher Education. Urban Education, 54(3), 368–396.
  6. Robertson, D. (2018). Chehalis Stories by Jolynn Amrine Goertz Chehalis Reservation (review). Oregon Historical Quarterly, 119(3), 431–432.

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This page was last updated on 20, March, 2021

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