Don’t you stop it, don’t you stop (don’t stop) “Don’t stop the music.” You don’t really wanna stop, uh-oh. These are the words to an American urban contemporary song by the duo, Yarbrough and Peoples. It was their biggest-selling release in the early 1980s. This song comes to mind when I think of Black History Month.
Black History month is set aside for the remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It begins February 1 and ends February 28 unless it’s a leap year. In that case, it ends February 29. It is one of the calendar events that stays locked in a chest, like Easter and Christmas. There is much preparation leading up to these events. Then when it arrives, you don’t want the celebration (music) to stop, but as soon as the day or month ends, the music stops until the next year.
If the celebrations are such a good thing, then why do we stop the celebration (music)?
Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History” is the man behind Negro History Week which took place the second week in February. This time was chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12 and Frederick Douglass on February 14. Both dates Black communities have celebrated since the late 19th-century. Woodson, the founder of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, felt that one week would allow a general movement to become an annual celebration.
In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of enterprise throughout our history.
Black history is vital and goes beyond stories of racism and slavery to spotlight Black achievement. This year follows a boisterous period where calls for racial justice are at an all-time high. They provide a fresh reminder for us to take stock of where systemic racism persists and give visibility to the people and organizations creating systemic change.
If Black History is so vital, then why do we stop the celebration (music)?
Why not celebrate Black history year-round? I know that there are some who do. There are many Black literature studies and professors who address it all the time.
I don’t want to know it’s March or April because of the emphasis on the Resurrection and the Easter candy in the grocery aisle. I don’t want to know it’s December because of the emphasis on the birth of Christ and aisles are stocked with Christmas decorations. I don’t want to know it’s February because of the emphasis on Black history. I want to know that celebrating essential days aren’t being pulled out of the closet for a season, but the celebration of Black history should never stop because it should not be considered seasonal.
Although bonnets and candy are gone until the next year. Christmas, trees, lights, and other decorations are put away until the next year, and yes, even the special Black History programs are put away until the next Black History Month. We must remember that everything about Black History isn’t just for one day but endures throughout the year every day. When we remember the accomplishments that have been achieved, items that we use were invented long ago, rights and privileges won, we must realize that every moment of our lives is filled with hope if we learn to celebrate Black history EVERY day. So we CAN celebrate throughout the year.
“Don’t Stop the Music.”
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