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Black History Month

A journey through Black History Month, its celebrations and need.
Black History Month, starting as Negro History Week, began as an effort by Carter G. Woodson to recognize the valuable contributions Black Americans have made in the United States and throughout the world. Black History Week was initiated in 1926, and evolved into Black History Month in 1976. This month has been celebrated in American schools since the 1970s thanks to the efforts of Dr. Woodson. Dr. Woodson, known as the "Father of African-American History", wrote many books and articles to make people aware of African- American history and achievements.

February is designated as the month to highlight and celebrate the contributions of African-Americans to American history and society. Many elementary schools and secondary schools plan special classes, events and field trips to teach all students the importance of blacks in American history.

Celebrations
Black History Month celebrations are held in February in the United States with that purpose in mind. They help people of African descent keep their past and their present history in a healthy balance, and they help people of all cultures recognize the cultural contributions of African-Americans.

Throughout the bible god continually calls people to recall the events that symbolize God's saving power in their history. The feasts that were established in Israel helped the people remember and celebrate their past. For the same reasons, given the centrality of Christian faith in the history and lives of African-Americans, it is important to remember and celebrate as a church the spiritual contributions of African-Americans. The liturgy outlined in this appendix can be used by any church to celebrate the. In looking over this outline you also may find liturgical elements that can be incorporated into other multicultural liturgies.

It should be clear that the celebration of Black History Month does not have to be confined to a single liturgical celebration. Communities can focus on a different element of African-American spirituality on each Sunday of the month of February. For example the first Sunday in February could be a celebration of the African-American church, highlighting its style of worship, the role of the black clergy, and the various functions the black church has played in the history of black people.

The second Sunday could focus on black music. Examples of the different forms of black church music, the Negro spirituals, gospel, metered hymns, and congregational singing - just to name a few - could be presented. Black music should be considered not just as an art form but as a survival form.

The third Sunday could be used to look at the black family experience. This could be an intergenerational experience with grandparents, great-grandparents, newly married individuals, single parents, fathers, and mothers called on to share their experiences. It would be interesting to have children and youth speak about the joys, problems, stresses, and satisfactions of family life.

Black History Month was established to recognize African-American contributions to society in all fields of endeavor, be sure that your collection reflects a wide range of contributions, not just popular figures in sports and entertainment.
By Jayashree Pakhare
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