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The Importance of celebrating black history: celebrating Black history is important for America, because it allows us to reflect on a glorious part of our history. Too often when we think of black history, we think slavery-like SNL's recent Black History Month sketch suggests-and as a nation we want to run away from that past, because it was a horrific part of American history. And while the legacy of slavery is certainly an important part of black history that we must never forget, the legacy of Blacks in America goes beyond forced servitude. When Carter G. Woodson, the "father of Black history," started the celebration (first Negro History Week in 1926 and then Black History Month in 1976,) he wanted to teach Americans that blacks made important contributions to this nation. In many ways, he wanted to broaden the concept of the classroom. Today, because of his work, we have a month long, nationwide educational experience about American history. This learning is now incorporated into social media. For example, on February 1 Google had Harriet Tubman in their image, which no doubt, prompted millions of people to research Harriet Tubman.

The impact on Black History to humanity: Blacks in America have made tremendous contributions to the nation and to humanity. I think the most important gift to humanity is that African Americans have continuously challenged the meanings of democracy, freedom, and equality in America and these long battles have changed how we look at civil and human rights in this nation and across the world. For example, the Civil Rights Movement taught us that you can have a revolution without picking up a gun. The CRM also sparked a free speech movement across college campuses and the modern women's rights movement.

Impact on history today: black voices remain at the forefront of social movements including debates about health care, education, the war on drugs, and the economy.

Courtesy: GVSU Professor Louis Moore