USA—Since 1976, the month of February has been regarded as ‘Black History Month,’ a time where the colonial education system along with colonial media highlight the so-called accomplishments of certain Africans they consider safe and harmless to the colonialist status quo. The entire month is filled with selling petty bourgeois aspirations to African youth.
Every year, African children are told stories about how Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a bus, how Africans fought to drink from the same water fountains and use the same toilets as white people, and are encouraged to memorize Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, none of which speak to what it truly means to struggle for self-determination.
Black History Month does very little to benefit our people, if anything at all. At most, our children are being taught that our greatest accomplishments have been inventing the hot comb (Madam CJ Walker) and peanut butter (George Washington Carver), while learning nothing about our true heroes, heroines and leaders—those who fought for our freedom.
More specifically, it just aids colonial media in pushing the idea of inclusion as the answer to our oppression as colonized Africans, especially with the constant glorification of ‘firsts,’ e.g. Shirley Chisolm being the first African woman elected to the House of Representatives, Ruby Bridges being the first African child to go an all-white elementary school, or Jackie Robinson being the first African to play in white Major League Baseball. Being the ‘first’ to participate in white power is nothing to be celebrated.
As stated in a February 2010 article in The Spear, “Black History Month must be updated to be the month that we redouble our struggle against imperialism and colonialism and for reparations for slavery—African Liberation Month.”
Honor those who fought to destroy the white power system
Black History Month has its origins in ‘Negro History Week,’, created by African historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926 and was celebrated during the second week of February to honor both Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’s birthday on the 12th and 14th, respectively.
The goal was never to limit African history to just one month, but instead as John Henrik Clarke states, “the celebration should represent the culmination of a systematic study of Black people throughout the year.”
Instead of learning of those who fought for assimilation in a system that is built on and sustained by the oppression of African people, we should be honoring those who fought to destroy such system. We should also celebrate African resistance worldwide instead of just what’s going on within the United States of America.
Acts from the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), the first and most successful revolution of African people, led by key figures Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, François Mackandal and Dutty Boukman, to the recent uprisings in Ferguson, Missouri (2014) after the police murder of African teen, Michael “Mike” Brown should all be studied and revered.
African revolutionaries from Marcus Garvey (early 1900s), who set the example for organized resistance, which will result in the liberation and unification of Africa and African people, and united 11 million Africans worldwide to Assata Shakur, who was a freedom fighter and dedicated activist and former member of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), are who we should strive to emulate.
The Burning Spear is changing the narrative!
We know African people are smart and that we’ve invented just about everything used in society. We know that we were the originators of science and math that form the foundation for any piece of technology. Our ingenuity, unfortunately, is not being used to build for the African Nation.
We celebrate those who worked to forward the revolution and build the African Nation! We celebrate Huey P. Newton, born February 17, 1942, who co-founded the Black Panther Party in 1966, a revolutionary socialist organization that worked toward ending the oppression of African people in the U.S.
We also reclaim Dr. King., whose story has been softened and white-washed by colonial media as they fail to mention that he became more radical toward the ending of his life and the change in his taking a second look at the massive violence perpetrated by the U.S. is what led to his assassination by the U.S. government.
It is imperative that we have our own media outlets, so that Black History Month/African Liberation Month and every other month can speak to the interests of our people. The Burning Spear Newspaper, the “Voice of the International African Revolution” works to do just that, by providing political education to the masses.
Join the team of the official organ of the African People’s Socialist Party, where we provide our people with the truth about African people, our contradictions and our resistance. Become a writer, graphic designer, photographer, proofreader, etc., for The Spear!
Keep The Spear burning in the hands of every African!
Freedom in our lifetime!