Why Schools Should Celebrate Black History Month

teacher helping a student at the governor's academy in byfield ma
Eddie Carson- Dean of Multicultural Education

A Reflection on How Students Benefit from Learning Black History

Black History Month, celebrated during the month of February in the United States, holds significant importance as it serves as a dedicated period to highlight and celebrate African Americans' profound contributions, achievements, and resilience throughout history. This observance emerged in response to the historic neglect of Black voices and narratives in mainstream education and public discourse. Black History Month is crucial for fostering a sense of pride, identity, and empowerment within the Black community. By showcasing the achievements of Black leaders, innovators, and activists, it offers positive role models for current and future generations. This celebration is not only a reflection on the challenges overcome but also a reminder of the ongoing pursuit of equity and inclusion.

The recognition of Black history is not exclusive to the Black community; it is an integral part of the broader human narrative. Thus, the goal of celebrating the month is an expansive invitation to the entire Governor’s community. African American history is interwoven with the larger historical context, influencing and shaping the inclusive campus that Governor’s is.

During February, The Governor’s Academy hosted two lectures as part of the Community & Equity Speaker Series, which celebrated the past and present. Declan Siefkas, Director of Choral Music at the Academy, engaged the Governor’s community in an evening that displayed primary footage, blues music, and a historical account of the Mississippi Delta, which is known in contemporary culture as both the birthplace of the blues and as "the poorest region of the poorest state in the United States”. Siefkas gave life to past historical narratives on Black progress, struggles, and contributions to the music many today enjoy.

Dr. Phillip Luke Sinitiere traveled to Byfield from Houston, Texas, to speak about the profound impact of W.E.B. Du Bois. Sinitiere, a leading national scholar and historian of Du Bois, recently discovered scrapbooks of Yolande Du Bois, the only surviving child of W.E.B. Du Bois, that date to the 1920s and 1930s—the heyday of the Harlem Renaissance. His lecture used the photos, inscriptions, and other mementos found in her notebooks to unveil her artistic imagination and impact on the NAACP. Sinitiere’s talk introduced new historical evidence of the accomplishments made by Black people. Governor’s was the first place Sinitiere shared his groundbreaking research.

Both speakers emphasized the lessons learned from the challenges and progress of African Americans, and demonstrated their relevance and application to people of all backgrounds. In recognizing Black history as integral to our shared heritage, Governor’s promotes the memory of history as an active endeavor. Embracing Black history as everyone's history fosters a sense of inclusivity and a and commitment to our community’s values. It encourages individuals from diverse backgrounds to engage in meaningful conversations, learn from one another, and collectively strive toward understanding the past to navigate the present.


Author: Eddie Carson- Dean of Multicultural Education

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