By Marcus Humphrey, Staff Reporter |
February is Black History Month — an annual celebration of achievements of African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of blacks in U.S. history. In the United States, Black History Month was first proposed in 1969 by students and staff at Kent State University in Ohio. The first celebration took place the following February in 1970.
Students and staff at Amarillo College say the month serves as a reminder of the contributions of black Americans and the importance of civil rights.
“Everyone deserves to be treated equal,” Alexis Sisneros, a theater major, said, adding she believes in the “value of life and in human rights.”
These are qualities that Sisneros said she picked up from her mother. Recently, Sisneros and her mother watched a movie about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which she said helped open her eyes to the history behind the African Americans’ fight for equal rights.
Yolanda Walker, a social work major, said she cares about Black History Month.
“Commemorating the month is very educational for a lot of people,” Walker said.
Walker believes that being educated about Black History Month should consist of talking about its origin and why we acknowledge, celebrate and honor it.
Criminal justice major Elizabeth Vals, said Black History Month is important to her and she wants the community to rejoice in the victory America has fought against racism and for human rights.
Vals said Americans should recognize the many sacrifices that have been made by many people to get to this stage.
Eric Fauss, an AC history professor, said teaching about the history of black Americans plays a large role in his classes.
He said he informs his students about how the fight for African American rights not only gave blacks the true freedom of being a red-blooded Americans with their freedom and liberty but, other races and different classes of people that reside in our great nation.
Fauss said his classes cover years of tragedy for black Americans.
“The pain and mistreatment of blacks and then denying them equality goes down in our long list of faults as Americans,” he said.
Nevertheless, Fauss said Americans should be proud of the fact that the nation’s leaders recognized that change must occur and took action to enact that change.