Monday, February 05, 2007

MLK Day the same as Black History Month or not?

Do ya'll think that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the same thing as celebrating Black History Month?

I find it interesting that lots of the events we put in The Times about Black History Month focus on Martin Luther King (and his counterpart, Rosa Parks).

It's almost like other black leaders didn't exist. But I know they do.

I think it's important to highlight the accomplishments of Dr. King, which is why the nation celebrates his birthday in January. In February, the focus is to be on all leaders of Black History, even the ones in our own community. Some people try to lump them all together. But I think some people thing King Day is exactly the same as Black History Month.

I had to coordinate efforts to cover MLK Day and Black History Month. When one of my colleagues handed me a note on a King Day observance, she wrote on a post-it that the papers she was giving me were for MLK Month.

Last I checked, King didn't have a month.

But maybe he does. Maybe February is King month. Schools and other people planning events sure seem to plan events around him...and that's a good thing.

Still, I think some folks think King was the only leader of the time. I think some folks think Parks was the only woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus. I also think there were several folks who refused before Parks but because she was the secretary of the NAACP, she got more fame for it than others.

While it is extremely important to celebrate King during Black History Month and on his birthday (and any other day on the calendar), I think its equally important to discuss and celebrate other leaders as well. We don't have to stick to the cookie-cutter leaders that other folks say are O.K. to laud. We can do more, right?

Or maybe King and Parks were the only two that mattered. Maybe people like Angela Davis or Malcolm X don't matter. I don't know.

Or maybe folks get confused about King's day and Black History Month because the two are only a month apart.

What do ya'll think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ashley, you're right. People ARE confused about the two. So, as a journalist...educate us. Who would YOU put up as a leader/hero/innovator?