By Manal Rashid
Black History Month is an annual celebration of minorities' achievements and their crucial impact on American history. This celebration originated in 1915 when two individuals, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), dedicated to promoting Black Americans' achievements to other people of African descent. In 1926, the group chose the second week of February to honor Black History, which inspired many schools and communities to organize local celebrations. By the late 1960s, due to the civil rights movement and growing awareness, the week evolved into Black History Month. Since 1976, every U.S. President has recognized February as Black History Month.
Artwork by Shadia Zayer
February is a month of remembrance for important individuals, such as Fredrick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr., who fought for civil rights for all citizens.
Today, the nation still honors the month by talking about African American individuals and historical events that were turning points for our nation. One way New Hyde Park honors Black History Month is by having the Social Studies Chairperson, Mr. Galvin, talk about historical events and individuals on the announcements. He highlights issues that played an enormous role in American History and shaped our country into how it is today.
“The significance of the announcements is to highlight a specific moment or individual in history that either hasn’t received attention, and is worthy of it, or one who gets the attention but many in the building don’t exactly know why they are important. Highlighting the accomplishments of these groups brings to light these achievements that have not been given their proper due. As we move forward, the students of New Hyde Park know that all of these groups are all capable of the greatness that has become a hallmark of the American Dream. Someone once said, ‘You only know what you have been exposed to.’ It is the job of our school to expose our students to as many experiences, both historical and current, as possible. Hopefully, along the way, we will become motivated to do our best and help our fellow students, neighbors, and countrymen to achieve the best that they are capable of,” social studies chairperson Mr. Galvin said.
Other teachers also do different things to honor Black History.
“I always like to highlight the accomplishments of minorities throughout the year, not necessarily during a specific month,” social studies teacher Ms. Borgogelli-Ferraro said.
With all that is occurring in the nation, it is essential to understand the historical events that have affected our society.
“As of today, I think Black History month has been a way to educate those who don’t know much about the history and impact of the black community. Although it, unfortunately, makes people uncomfortable to talk about how Black people have been historically and currently oppressed, it’s very much needed,” sophomore Guneet Hanjra said.
New Hyde Park Memorial High School continuously tries to educate students about historical events that shaped this nation, since many believe that it is important to understand the past in order to face the future.