Celebrating Black History Month

Published 12:06 am Sunday, February 7, 2010

As far as the Rev. David Peoples is concerned, one of the best outcomes of celebrating black history for a month each year would be to have it no longer confined to February.

“Hopefully one day it will not be called Black History Month, it will just be called history,” Peoples, the pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, said.

Each year across the country, schools, churches and other organizations dedicate the month to learning about historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Frederick Douglass.

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But while Peoples thinks it is important to know the contributions these people made, he would like to see a time when black history, like the rest of American history, is learned in all schools.

“I think it’s important to look at contributions from every background and every group of persons that are a part of this great country,” Peoples said.

In many places, black history is not taught as it should be, he said. “At some places it is just not a big deal.”

Ironton resident Wilma Fox said it is important for young people to study black history.

“I’ve always been interested in black history,” 80-year-old Fox said. “But the young people don’t know what went on before their era and if they don’t know they won’t appreciate it.”

Malissa Brown said has tried to preserve as much of her heritage as she can.

“I’ve got a whole lot of memos to let me know what the black nation has done,” Brown said. “They’ve come a long way. It’s just good to know what they’ve done.”

Many young people today are not aware of the history, Brown said.

“I don’t think they know,” she said. “I’ve tried to sit down and tell my grandchildren and they look at me like ‘Grandma, what are you talking about?’”

Parents and families should take an active role in educating their children about history, Peoples said.

“I think parents can do a better job in trying to educate their children,” he said. “When you say some names, people don’t have a clue. I don’t think it should be left up to the schools.”

Many young people do not realize how far some of their ancestors came.

“When you’re living in an economically depressed area a lot of people give up hope,” Peoples said. “When people are educated in that area about people who have come through more, hopefully it should challenge them to kind of do something with themselves.”

The following is a list of Black History events in the area:

“Gospel Night” will be presented by the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center at 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at the J.B. Sowards Theatre of Ashland Community and Technical College.

ACTC will present the African Drumming & Dance Ensemble from Eastern Kentucky University Feb. 11, at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in ACTC’s J. B. Sowards Theatre at the College Drive Campus.

“101 Years in the Life of Rolland Mayo” will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Bowman Auditorium of Ohio University Southern.

Shawnee State University will present a Gospel Fest 6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 21 in Clark Memorial Library’s Flohr Lecture Hall.

“A Night at the Apollo” will be presented by the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at the main stage of the Paramount Arts Center.

“Claim The Dream,” a one-woman drama, will be presented by Shawnee State University 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at the school’s main theater at Vern Riffe Center for the Arts.