Commentary: Black History is AMERICAN History

Corey Streeper

Corey Streeper

GROSSMONT COLLEGE-What does black history month mean?  Perhaps that all depends on how much you know about black history. Arguably the most notable moments in black history would be the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement.

The truth is those are very important moments in getting the United States to where it is today.  One could wonder how much longer slavery would have lasted if Harriet Tubman had never started the Underground Railroad, or if Abraham Lincoln never decided to write the Emancipation Proclamation.

Would African Americans have the rights they have today if Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks had not stood up for what they believed was right? Would the government still be ignoring the housing-projects if Spike Lee had never made the film, Do the Right Thing?

When we look, we can obviously see the changes those public figures made to our country. Though, to some, it may be easy to think that black history only affects the African American community, but is that the case?

Surely music is something that affects everyone, but did you know country music would not be what it is today if it were not for blues greats like Robert Johnson or B.B. King?

How about Rock ‘n’ Roll? Where would it be if Chuck Berry had never written “Johnny B. Goode” (which was the basis for Elvis’ change from gospel to rock). And consider sports: many of the greatest NFL and NBA teams would never have known victory without the addition of African American Players.

American history has been greatly shaped by African Americans, and one thing is clear: we would never have had the opportunity to see an African American president in the oval office if our ancestors had not overcome by struggling to make America a better place for all people; so, in the end, there is an element of black history in every facet of American life.

*Streeper is a student in MCOMM 132; email him at [email protected]