In an earlier column last month, I wrote about whether Black History Month is still relevant. Well, apparently to many readers it is. I received calls, e-mails and many of you let me know how you felt.
Today, I’m going to share some those comments.
My personal opinion is the history that the African-American has in this country speaks to the problems our black students are having in the school system even today. And it appears that the black community is not being as aggressive as we should in making sure these deep-rooted, underlying problems are being properly addressed. The black population makes up nearly 35 percent of the student body of the South Bend school system and unless we find a way to be certain that our children are not continually being referred to the mildly mentally retarded category in Special Education, and falling through the cracks of the testing process, our community will seriously be undermined. For these reasons alone we should have Black History.
— Oletha Jones, of South Bend
Just as girls and young women today do not understand what our foremothers did for us, so black children do not know what their ancestors contributed and suffered for them. The book “The Warmth of Other Suns” should be required reading for all of us.
— Marie Mengel
I am a scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 419 out of Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church. We meet with the Scouts every week for two hours to work with boys who are between ages of 7 and 13. During February, we always spend two weeks of the month on Black History topics. On the first week, we always play an African-American type game of bingo called “Jingo.” We give each Scout a Jingo card with a famous African American on each square. We read a game card description of a person in black history and wait for a Scout to correctly identify the name. Then the Scout finds that person on their card and places a marker on it until they fill a column diagonally, vertically or horizontally. We award small prizes for various achievements at the end of the game. Such as prizes to the Scouts who get the hardest answer, the most correct answers and also the winner of the Jingo game. The repetition of reading the cards of the game teaches the Scouts to remember the African-American people and their accomplishments that are on the cards. It is fun, educational and a good way to celebrate Black History Month. The enthusiasm the Scouts demonstrate combined with their absorbing of the information is well worth the effort and continued celebration of Black History Month.
— Richard Armstrong.
A definite YES. It is still needed to educate African Americans and others about the many, many contributions that African Americans have made in the development of America. We (Jefferson Intermediate Center) have a program every year. (On) Feb. 15, Jefferson Diversity Club presented “Celebrating African American Music.” In that presentation, African American music was covered from the African influence to today.
— Julia Nabaa
As a mixed-race child, I am so thankful that my parents helped me embrace both sides of my heritage. Black History is a subject that I really want to know more about. It a great way to help me and my brothers learn about our other side and I know that I am going to educate people about it. It is my life now. Yes, Black History is important for people of all colors.
— Libby Jackson, Niles