Black History Month is one point in a larger conversation that enable us to imagine and work toward a better future.
At Business Before Hours in February 2021, Dr. Darin Waters and Dr. Marcus Harvey talked about truth and history and the role they play in helping us build understanding. (Recording)
Black History Month grew out of the work of publisher and historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson, whose work focused on highlighting Black experience and contributions, said, “A people without a history don’t have much of a future.” In the 1920s, Woodson created Black History Week – a time to focus on Black history which has since grown into Black History Month.
“I find the month a little bit problematic because we use it in a celebratory way,” Dr. Waters said.
“One of the things I find striking and problematic is the way in which we are very intentionally invited to remember very specific figures and events,” Dr. Harvey said. “Like Martin Luther King, the March on Washington, the Civil Rights Movement. It’s reflective of how our memory of the African American past in this country has been shaped by factors that aren’t necessarily emanating from within the African American community. And, as a result Black History Month has become, for the most part, a superficial celebration of a curated African American past that is not necessarily reflective of the larger picture of African American history much of which is not particularly comfortable or celebratory in nature.”
Dr. Harvey presented this challenge as we think not only about history but also our current environment in this country: Who are we? And, who do we want to be?
So as we think about building understanding, here’s a list of resources to serve as a starting point to learn more about Black history in Asheville and surrounding areas.
Resources & Historical Information:
Local nonprofits resurrect Asheville’s African-American history – article in Mountain Xpress
Know of another great resource on Asheville’s Black history? Please let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org