Revisionism reminds us why we need Black History Month

·2 min read

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour was the 16-year-old valedictorian of his high school class in 1964 — also known as “Freedom Summer” — when the slaying of three civil rights workers punctuated escalating racial violence in his state. What does he remember about the time? “Not much,” he told The Associated Press recently. What he does remember is revisionist, including claims that his generation attended integrated schools and the racist White Citizens’ Councils were civil rights champions. In October, it was discovered that a textbook in Virginia elementary and middle schools claimed that thousands of black soldiers fought for the South in the Civil War. According to “Our Virginia,” among the hordes of African-Americans fighting for the Confederacy were “two black battalions under the command of Stonewall Jackson.” Though Confederate apologists make similar assertions, most historians reject the claims, the textbooks have been pulled and the publisher is replacing them at no cost to the schools. Click here to view a slideshow of blacks and whites squaring off on the issue of secession Then there are clueless wonders such as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who last month insisted that the founding fathers “worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States,” a nation she said was founded on racial and ethnic diversity. But last summer, she claimed that President Obama was turning the United States into “a nation of slaves.” WATCH THEGRIO’S GOLDIE TAYLOR DISCUSS THEGRIO’S 100 ON MSNBC
[NBCVIDEO source=”UNIWIDGET” video=”http://widgets.nbcuni.com/singleclip/singleclip_v1.swf?CXNID=1000004.08052NXC&WID=4a784acd2b1a7e80&clipID=1281577″ w=”400″ h=”400″] And folks still ask if we really need a Black History Month? Are they serious? Actually, it’s a fair question if the inference is March through January are exempt. If that’s the case, designating February as the time to recognize, honor and celebrate blacks’ saga in America smacks of tokenism. But considering the constant stream of half-truths and whole lies it must combat, Black History Month definitely has not outlived its usefulness. Although we set February aside, there’s no real separation or division between black American history and non-black American history. Unraveling the two is no more possible than disjoining the commingled blood that courses through our veins. So why bother? (more…)

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