The celebration and recognition of Black History Month has been around for nearly 100 years. It has developed and changed to become what it is today.
“Black History Month is the national celebration of African American achievements throughout history,” Heaven Smith ’19 said.
It is during Black History Month when the U.S. recognizes the history, culture, and contributions of the African American community. The recognition first began as “National Negro Week” and was chosen to take place the week of February 12th, to fall along the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. Eventually, this honor blossomed into the nationally recognized Black History Month that we know today.
As for the Hill School, we acknowledge the month with the typical announcements, programs, and events. Brandon Jacobs ’07, director of diversity and inclusion, believes our present celebrations are actually a large improvement from the past.
“We are doing more, but I am not satisfied with what we are doing,” Jacobs said.
Whether or not The Hill School does enough for Black History Month is an ongoing issue. There are some students who believe Hill does not do enough.
“Last year we just did a few lunch announcements, but that doesn’t really inform anyone,” Smith said.
Other students think the school’s actions taken for Black History Month have either been uneventful or ineffective.
“The aspects of the month that need to be highlighted more are everyday things that African Americans invented that no one knows about,” Smith said. “I wonder how many people know that George Crum, an African American man, invented the potato chip.”
Jacobs believes more opportunities for conversation need to be available, even if these conversations may lead to a bit of discomfort.
“As a school, we need to lean more into this discomfort and find ways to have impactful, meaningful conversations,” Jacobs said.
As yet another Black History Month takes place, it is the hope of many students that the school will be able to bring more awareness and conversations to table this month.