Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

At Your Service

Communications Office
Bldg D, Room D110, ECC Campus
Tel: 847-214-7823
Hours: M-F 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Media Relations
Tel: 847-214-7769

Social Media
Tel: 847-214-7838

Follow Us

Social Media Stream

Academic Calendar

Calendar image

Know the important dates & follow academic calendar.

View online calendar»
View PDF versions»

Why is Black History Month important?

Jemel Townsend

Jemel A. Townsend, Professional and Organizational Development Coordinator IV

Why is Black History Month important? A question often answered in various ways via a multitude of avenues. Black History Month is a part of the road map to America. In order to reach any destination, it is equally important to know where you began as it is to know where you currently are and where you are going. During this month each year, many will pay homage to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the father of Black History Month. Media outlets will reference civil rights leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and in soft tones, as if speaking of issues that have long past, will allude to the plight of the black community during that time. Scholars and experts with letters of the alphabet following their names will attempt to illustrate why Black History Month is important, not only for African-Americans, but for everyone. 

I believe the most important question to ask ourselves is, what is the rate of progress? Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week in 1926. The U.S. government formally recognized the expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month 50 years later in 1976. It is 2016, 40 years from that time.  I wonder if it will take 10 more years before we see the next step toward progress.

I think a better question to ask is, “why isn't Black History” important? Should the efforts, advances and innovations of an entire culture be relegated to one month out of the year? If something is truly important, why is it recognized only during a specific time?  

I, like many in the black community, long for a time when Black History Month is no longer necessary. We long for a time when the history of every group is so honored, so revered, so respected by all that it is celebrated in every way at all times. We long for a time where we may not always agree with each other, but we always agree to work with each other. We long for a time when Black history, simply becomes a part of American history. We long for a time when people will stop fighting for a place at the table, because a place has already been set for us all. We long for an America made stronger by its adversity and its diversity.

We have the opportunity to change this nation and the world for the better. As a black male, I do not presume to speak for the entire African-American community and I do not presume to have all the answers. Admittedly, I have more questions than I have answers.  Nevertheless, this I know, the most important questions are the ones that must be answered collectively and history will one day recount the actions and decisions that we make today.

Therefore, the ultimate question is, how do we want history to recall the choices we made with the opportunity that we had? No matter what questions are asked, love and unity must be part of the answers. 

By Jemel A. Townsend

Professional and Organizational Development Coordinator IV

Elgin Community College 


Go to top