Black History Month invites all Americans to better understand African-American achievement. For Christians, it is an opportunity to better understand God’s providence and grace as we listen to one another’s story of pain and promise without contempt.
In the spirit of African-American historian Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), students of African-American history learn to view the world through the lens of black oppression and black opportunity. They are given the hermeneutic tools to exchange the oft-repeated story of black inferiority for a new perspective that highlights black dignity and cultural development.
Woodson wrote, “The Mis-Education of the Negro,” and founded the Association of Negro Life and History to protect all Americans from historical amnesia. In 1926, he established an annual Negro History week (now Black History Month). He selected February to honor the birthdays of two cultural change agents, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Woodson stated that “no one can be thoroughly educated in America, until he learns as much about the Negro as he knows about other people.”
This month, and throughout the year, we have an opportunity to expand our thoughts concerning the African saga on American soil. This learning can deepen our appreciation for one another and our commitment to take the gospel to different image-bearers in America and beyond.
— Curtis Woods is Kentucky Baptist Convention’s associate executive director for convention relations. A longer version of this column first appeared at Kentucky Today (kentuckytoday.com), a news website of the state convention.