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"What Black History Month means to us..."

By Zachary J. Hack, Times Staff Reporter
On February 28, 2013

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere...."

- Martin Luther King Jr.  

There is a very good reason we celebrate Black History Month, and it doesn't really have much of anything to do with the notable contributions to society made by famous African-American inventors, authors, musicians, and entertainers, and that list just seems to go on and on.
No, Black History Month serves a much greater purpose than that, because it involves our entire species.
Some people criticize it, and some play it up for all the wrong reasons. In the year 2013, we all should know by now that Martin Luther King Jr. was an important and brilliant man. We know that Richard Pryor is one of the greatest comedians in the history of the genre.
Hank Aaron, Maya Angelou, Muhammad Ali, Medgar Evers, Billie Holiday, Sydney Poitier, Jimi Hendrix; as I said, that list can go on for quite a while. There is an inherent acceptance by the modern masses that the world has benefited greatly from what African-America has brought to the cultural table.
It is a widely known fact, for one example, that without musicians like Robert Johnson and other blues artists, we wouldn't have the rock 'n' roll that we know and I love today.
The role of African-Americans in U.S. culture is blatant; so much so that dedicating a month to the history of one race seems somewhat unneeded, but that's where we would be wrong.
Black History Month, to me, serves as a proverbial bookmark in the tome of our continuing and far from perfect civilization. No matter what racial demographic you belong to, it affects us all.
To me it is a harsh and hard-hitting reminder that as civilized as we may think we are, racial bigotry was a major blight on human society, and still is depending on where you look. Something so ugly in its social senselessness, so obviously not welcome in this, the society human beings have the evolutionary potential to create for ourselves.
Black History Month, first celebrated in February of 1969 at Kent State University, represents the overdue acceptance by all sensible, intelligent and compassionate Americans of the concept of racial equality.
It is unfortunate that some people don't see it that way, even in this day and age, but my main point in all this is that most of us, the rest of us, have considerably and feverishly evolved since then.
Civil Rights issues come along all the time, and the more time that goes by, the more imperative it is to confront them head-on together, as one nation, as one people.
We are all people, sharing the same planet, and we all have the ability to unite in the face of any injustice as a people.       

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