‘Everybody Gets Twelve Months a Year’: Jones on Expanding Awareness Past Black History Month
By Ashton Hare
African Amerians have been fighting for recognition and civil rights for centuries.
In the past fifty years, one month, February, has been established to officially recognize the shared struggles and hardships the ethnicity has faced.
“President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to ‘seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history,’” according to History.com’s website.
America is made up of millions of beautiful people, each with their own story to tell.
According to OCCC history Professor Leslie Jones “that’s what is beautiful about American history is that everybody has a different story, and when you bring it all together then you get the full scope of what American history is really about.”
It is because of the importance of the individual’s voice that months like Black History Month are so meaningful.
Black History Month supports African American voices, both past and present.
The idea that the month of February holds is powerful, but it is only being proclaimed one month out of twelve.
“Black History Month is fantastic, Native American History Month is fantastic, Women’s History Month is fantastic, but I don’t want them to be secluded to one month. American history for too long has been the white man’s story, and they got the twelve months. That just shouldn’t be anymore. Everybody gets twelve months a year,” Jones said.
People shouldn’t just celebrate and recognize African Americans for one month every year.
They deserve awareness every month and every day of the year.
African Americans are not the only ones. Anyone who has felt the cruel hand of injustice deserves acceptance. Women, natives, immigrants and everyone else.
At OCCC, teachers understand that individuals matter and that there are multiple sides to history.
“Whenever we talk about an event, a historical event in American history we are not just giving one-sided [information], we are telling both genders, we are telling both ethnic perspectives, all races perspectives, and how it affected,” she said.
When asked if administration restricted the professors to teach anything regarding Black History Month one faculty member who requested anonymity said.
“Administration said absolutely nothing restrictive about Black History Month. For the most part our administrators have been very supportive of academic freedom. Over the years I’ve had a few complaints from conservative students who felt like I was being to liberal, but I was always backed up by the administration.”
For centuries, African Americans have suffered, but through simple things like Black History Month and schools teaching students from every perspective, African Americans are gaining recognition and justice.