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Black History Month: celebrating African Americans in the arts

Alexa Diaz

Each February, the world commemorates African Americans by celebrating Black History Month, providing a time to reflect on the profound impact African Americans have had in shaping history, and the countless contributions that continue to enrich our daily lives.

The origins of Black History Month trace back to the enduring work of scholar Carter G. Woodson, who fought endlessly to celebrate the traditions of African Americans. Beginning in 1976, former U.S. president, Gerald Ford, extended the previous celebration of “Negro History Week” to include the entire month of February.

Woodson chose February to celebrate Black Americans as it contains the birthdays of two influential Americans who aided in shaping black history, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. The 15th amendment was also passed by Congress on February 26, 1869 and ratified on February 3, 1870, granting African American men the right to vote. 

Black History Month focuses on different themes each year to highlight specific aspects of African American history and culture. This year’s 2024 theme focuses on “Celebrating African Americans and the Arts.” It explores the impact of African American artists, musicians, writers, dancers, and filmmakers on society. 

Throughout history, African American artists have used their creativity to tell their stories. This month honors the legacy of African American musicians from Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday to Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, who have revolutionized musical genres including jazz, blues, gospel, hip-hop, and R&B. 

At Carrollton, the Black Student Union (BSU) aims to promote inclusivity and acknowledgement of Black individuals within various ethnicities through presentations and collaboration with other honor societies. However, discrimination is still prevalent throughout the world, so Mia Lane ‘25, BSU officer, believes in also educating students about the “injustices that take place within the world to familiarize ourselves with racial discrimination.” 

BSU continues to work year-round. For example, they bring attention to “the immense African influence on various Hispanic cultures” during National Hispanic month, said Lane. Along with multiple food drives, bake sales, assemblies, and their famous cookouts, Lane encourages others to engage in support of the black community by “not only being a good ally but a good person. Self reflection and growth is crucial to understanding other people.” 

As Black History Month comes to a close, it is important to remember not only African Americans’ achievements and contributions, but also the ongoing struggle for justice and equality. It is crucial, throughout the year, to honor the legacy and resilience that define Black history and reaffirm a dedication to building a more inclusive world. 

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About the Contributors
Meredith McKenna
Meredith McKenna, News Editor
Meredith McKenna is a current junior at Carrollton and the editor of News for The Beat newspaper. Meredith writes news articles on current events while also vlogging important topics within the school. She is a part of the sailing team, campus ministry and an ambassador for the Miami Learning Experience.  She was also  awarded with an Honorable Mention in News Writing last year at the National Journalism Education Association Convention in San Francisco, CA.
Alexa Diaz
Alex loves to design graphics and wants to create a visual for the stories that her classmates write.

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  • M

    Mr. AlkonMar 18, 2024 at 3:42 pm

    Thank you, Meredith, for this article. Thanks, also, to Mia for the insightful comments quoted in the article. I really appreciate the statement that understanding and honoring Black history helps each one of us to be not only “a good ally but a good person.” Commemorating and honoring Black history requires us to grow more aware of the complex, painful, meaningful, and inspiring history in which we are all, now, participants.

  • P

    Paola ConsuegraMar 6, 2024 at 8:25 am

    Great article ❤️

  • C

    Christophe LagierMar 6, 2024 at 7:50 am

    Well done Meredith!