Tied together

Ella Tallett

Like an ivy vine, American history is woven and strung together.

Black History Month, an annual celebration and recognition of the achievements of African Americans and their central role in American History, started  on Monday, February 1 and   continues  throughout this month. This year’s theme, which is endorsed by the current President of the United States each year, is “The Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity,” which seeks to explore the spread of black families across America. 

“As Black History Month begins today, we remember and honor those who have come before and we work to build a brighter future for all who follow in their steps. Our ongoing charge is to build a more just and inclusive America,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a tweet on February 1. 

In President Joe Biden’s proclamation made on Wednesday, February 3, the Biden-Harris Administration—which has the most diverse cabinet in American history—announced the launching of the first-ever whole-government-approach to advancing racial justice and equity across their administration. One specific bill their administration introduced was the American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 relief bill, which would help support black businesses in America among other things; this was approved by the House and Senate on Friday, February 5. 

In addition to the United States slowly working to move forward in creating an equal, just nation, Black History Month is also a time to commemorate the often erased accomplishments of blacks in American history. 

“I think Black History Month is important because it gives recognition to black people that have done amazing things but have not gotten recognized,” junior Stella Bernhard said. “I think it is important at a school like Xavier because there is a lower percentage of people of color and it is important for them and everyone to learn about black history.” 

Mr. Matthew Farrell, a social studies teacher at Xavier, mentions that he and Xavier have room to grow in covering more about the events around Black History Month, whether  that  be     changes in the history curriculum or other classes, as well.

However, changes are starting to be made at Xavier High School for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Champions of Solidarity—a newly-formed group of students, teachers and parents working to make Xavier more inclusive and aware—have started working on policies that will be implemented next fall, including a commemoration for next year’s Black History Month. 

During Black History Month 2021 and beyond the month of February, make time to reflect on the large contributions of African Americans to American history, with a list of Iowa events available at www.icgov.org and www.allevents.in. Tours are also being held at the African American Museum Of Iowa. As academic administrator Marty Meehan once said, “Black History Month must be more than just a month of remembrance; it should be a tribute to our history and reminder of the work that lies in the months and years ahead.”