First Tweet From Black History Month Creator, Historian Carter G. Woodson
In 1990, I made a statement as a Bible study teacher at the juvenile hall in San Francisco, where I taught Bible in their maximum security unit. I told a class of 25 teen felons — at least 20 of them Black, “I am more concerned with Black future than I am with Black history.”
I am not sure if I made the statement during a Black History Month, but I am 100% sure why they all applauded me for making the statement. They too, felt as I did. Black History Month has been played out for more than thirty years.
If Black historian Carter G. Woodson were alive today, and had a Twitter account, I think I know what he would want to tweet out concerning America’s misuse of his good intentions: #WTF. But that would not be his first tweet.
I admit, I am the last person to teach on the subject of Black history. In fact, while trying to encourage one of my teen felons, Ali Satchel, I mentioned hearing about a Black botanist who said God told him to study the peanut. This great scientist did so and discovered over three hundred uses for the peanut. I said his name was Booker T. Washington but Ali quickly correcting me, “George Washington Carver.”
Today, almost thirty years later, I find myself correcting mostly young Blacks on Black history. If I was to point the finger of blame, I would say it is largely due to the fact, most teachers in the public schools teaching Black history are White.
Other than former president Barack Obama, there is no other Black man I respect than NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. This young Black man gets it. He upset all NFL owners, 99% of police officers and millions of sports fans; not to mention sports writers because he realized America’s national anthem is not something to be proud of. And the fact that Black people in America had been brainwashed into reciting the anthem of a country that oppresses too many Blacks was too much for him to recite with sincerity.
But when Kaepernick; commemorating Black History Month sent out a tweet to his growing followers about Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month; originally called, “Negro History Week” I had to tweet a response: “…Carter G. Woodson intended Black History Month to be temporary.” Simply put, Woodson rightfully believed there would be a time where Blacks would be viewed as contributing Americans in America. And if Woodson been alive today and had a Twitter account, it would not have been his first tweet but he most definitely would have tweeted a correction to @Kaepernick7 himself.
I learned that Carter G. Woodson intended Black history to be temporary in February 2016 when I read an article in a Wall Street Journal commentary by Jason Riley, title: An alternative Black History. I was shocked and relived to know I was not alone in believing Black History Month is past its usefulness. In other words, if Woodson were alive today, he would see no need to call for a Black History Month.
Politically speaking, Blacks in America have been elected to be mayors of our largest cities. Los Angeles (Tom Bradley), New York (David Dinkins), Chicago ( Harold Washington) and San Francisco (Willie Brown ) to name a few. In fact, according to BlackDemographics.com, of the 100 largest cities in America, 39 have elected a Black person as mayor. Though in my lifetime, I can only recall three Black governors and one Black president, I still see hope, in a still racist America, politically for Black people.
Carter G. Woodson would have not seen the need to commemorate Black history if he had lived long enough to have witnessed America’s greatest orator, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. begin to preach close to the time of Woodson’s death in 1950 or Olympians turned activist, Tommie Smith and Juan Carlos. The great Black singing voices, professional athletes, doctors, lawyers and even average Black Americans, like architect Paul Revere Williams, who designed Los Angeles homes for famous people like, Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra. Today there are thousands of Black people, front and center for Woodson to have enough material to celebrate, not research, for Blacks who contribute to making America great.
When I mention my belief, we should no longer commemorate Black History Month, Blacks flat out reject this idea. I detect it is because it is the only thing 90% of Blacks see to cling on to. But I am not the only one preaching it. Thankfully, others with an opened mind are willing to hear me out and their silence speaks volumes after I state my case.
Thanks to racist and the ignorant in America, for electing a man as president, I consider to be either racist or having a severe ignorance disorder concerning race. When President Donald Trump began to commemorate Black History Month 2017 with some of his Black supporters, he strengthened my argument. If a man can become a billionaire and President of the United States and not know anything about Black history it’s sad and unfortunate. But what is revealing in this YouTube clip of President Trump commemorating and butchering of a prepared one page statement for Black History Month 2017 with some of his Black supporters is, his supporters don’t think it’s a big deal. And I agree with the president’s Black supporters who seem to be more concerned with Black future than Black history.
I have one Bible scripture and two true stories that best illustrate my belief that Black America needs to tell Congress and President Trump, Blacks need to make history of Black History Month:
Bible verse Philippians 3:13 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before…”
December 2016, Kamiyah Mobley, an 18-year-old Black woman living in South Carolina discovered she was kidnapped from a Florida hospital when she was only hours old. Police arrested her kidnapper. Though she had a happy reunion with her biological parents, Mobley was back in court to support the woman who was a good mother to her, her entire life. Shouting, “I love you Momma!” after a court hearing, she alo defended her actions. For those who questioned her calling her kidnapper momma she replied, “You don’t understand.”
Juxtapose Kamiyah Mobley’s earth shaking experience with that of slavery. For the Africans brought to America as slaves, they were basically kidnapped. With no disrespect for their birth mother Africa, some now with 100% confidence call America, momma. That is how I view myself. And for those who insist I am “African American”, I too reply, “You don’t understand”, I know who my America mother country is, even though, in my case she has not been the best mother at times.
Apartheid, which was a racist form of government in South Africa had been law from 1948 to 1993. At its ending a young Stanford University graduate, Amy Bielh; a White American who in 1993 went to South Africa to help educate the African people oppressed under Apartheid.
Four teenaged boys mistook her for the White oppressors; to the point of stoning and stabbing her to death.
Caught, tried and convicted for her murder, each of the boys received an 18 year prison sentence. After the end of Apartheid, a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” was formed in 1994 to offer a chance for many in prison under Apartheid to receive forgiveness and possible freedom from their crime. The four boys appealed to the commission.
Amy’s parents, Peter and Linda Bielh attended the hearing with the opportunity to voice their objection to the release of the four teenaged boys. But after sitting down with the boys they had a change of heart. They not only gave their blessing for the release, they discovered why their murdered daughter had compassion and loved the oppressed of South Africa. This resulted in the Bielhs setting up, The Amy Bielh Foundation where two of the killers of their daughter received and education and job training. These two, now young men, have been working for the foundation over twenty years. The Amy Bielh Foundation has helped thousands of people not only in South Africa but there is an “Amy Bielh High School” in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
For decades people have misapplied an old philosopher’s saying. Early 20th century philosopher George Santayana from Spain, coined the term, “Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it.” The first question I would ask of those who recite this quote in an effort to teach Black history is, who is teaching this particular history? As I said earlier, most teaching of Black history in our public schools today are White teachers. And a public school is where I was taught in the late 60’s was by a well intentioned White teacher, saying, “Christopher Columbus discovered America.” Not true! I was even taught evolution in public school. Am I the only one who believes, God created everything?
The teaching of history in public schools should not include a subject that can be misapplied. Two and two does equal 4. But when it comes to history, what I feel now is, the teaching of Black history does not add up.
While counseling at the juvenile hall in San Francisco, a 17-year-old White kid named Michael Richardson told me what happened to him when he was in the facility classroom during Black History Month. The teacher showed a film to a class that was similar to 20 Blacks and one White of the total 25 learning federally mandated public school teaching on Black history. The film shown every February in most all public schools is most likely includes old black and white video of White police using Billy clubs on Black people. Dogs attacking Blacks and water hoses used on crowds of Black people.
After the lesson, who do you think was doomed to repeat that part of history? Michael Richardson did not have a racist bone in his 17 years of living.
For decades, Blacks in America have twisted the good intentions of historian Carter G. Woodson, into a manipulated instrument to remind White people of slavery and the civil rights era struggles for Blacks in America. And no part of Black History Month promotes forgiveness or points Blacks towards, dare I say, the advancement of colored people. Therefore, what’s to celebrate?
If Carter G. Woodson were alive today, I could imagine his twitter handle being something like, @carterg. And though he might tweet #WTF, I can also see him first tweet, “What part of temporary don’t you understand?”