Lisbeth Alvarez: The Importance Of Black History

February 26, 2018 | 29 Comments

Lisbeth Alvarez Bermuda Feb 2018[Written by CedarBridge Academy student Lisbeth Alvarez]

Many people are proud of “Black History Month” and trust me, so am I, but I do have a few issues with this so-called “Black History Month”.

To begin with, why is that we only have one month acknowledging our years’ worth of history; not even focusing on the fact that February is the shortest month of the year, with 28 days – 29 days on a leap year. We are in the wrong for accepting this small “holiday”.

Once again, I love seeing all of the love being showcased through this month, but why is it that we are only celebrating our black history during February alone?

Most people treat it as if we are only black throughout the month of February – that the most important events of black history happened through February, which is far from true.

Black History Month is barely spoken about in most schools. If asking someone about black history I can almost guarantee that the first thing that they mention is slavery or Martin Luther King Jr., maybe even Malcom X if you’re lucky.

Most of our black children have been brain-washed into thinking that our history does not go beyond what we are told, making them disinterested in learning more. They are not being taught enough about our iconic role models, and if they are, it is very limited.

Sure, they know Martin Luther King Jr. but do they know what he really did? Do they know the words that follow his infamous phrase ‘I have a dream…’? Okay, now Rosa Parks, do they know that she did more than just “sit on a bus”.

What about Lorraine Hansberry, another black female playwright/activist? Patricia Bath – the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology and the first African-American female doctor. It is only a small percentage that yearn to learn more due to the little information that they are receiving, and the problem in this is that our children are not even encouraged to learn more about their history.

I believe that schools should focus on things other than the slavery part, and on the people who actually helped to work – continue to work – on ending segregation and white supremacy.

Secondly, only learning about slavery and the downsides of black history. There is an unspoken poetry about our ancestors who continue to live through those who accept their guidance. Did you know, that black people were Kings and Queens?

That without black people, we wouldn’t have half of the things we use today. We tend to take things for granted without even knowing it. We take our black history for granted and we are selfish in the sense of using all of these platforms with keeping a blind eye to those who have created these things for us.

Garrett Morgan – the inventor of the streetlight. Benjamin Banneker – a mathematician and astronomer. Marie Van Brittan Brown – applied for an invention patent for a closed-circuit television security system – the forerunner to the modern home security system; just to name a few.

So, what is Black History Month to me? Black History Month is a cover-up, a distraction of sorts, and a mechanism. It is not being enforced in many schools or talked about during this month, so what is the point?

I believe that black history should be spread throughout the entire year; that our children should actually be taught what is truly important, and it is up to the community, parents and teens such as myself to help spread the knowledge.

 Lisbeth Alvarez

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Comments (29)

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  1. Truth be told says:

    Great article! A people without the knowledge of their past and history is like a tree without roots!

  2. WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Dont forget we were building the pyramids while they were learning to make fire in the Caucasus Mountains.

    • To Onion Juice:

      Terrific and valid points you have made.
      I am wanting for Miss Alvarez to climb gigantic heights: representing herself first, then representing her people after.
      She is smart, capable of great things and is a very humble and respectful young lady.
      My hat is off to Lisbeth…definitely amongst the brightest in her peer group!!

    • peelpee says:

      I love your comic book version of history, OJ.

      It’s anime all the way!

    • zingums says:

      “Dont forget we were building the pyramids while they were learning to make fire in the Caucasus Mountains.”

      So what you’re saying is, your ancestors were slaveowners.

      Well colour me shocked.

      • There were no slaves that built the pyramids and no aliens either.

        • wahoo says:

          Oh dear…..

          • Micro says:

            It’s true, evidence has been found that suggests the workers that built the Great Pyramids were more than likely not slaves.

            • nerema says:

              That’s right. They were union workers, with 70 days sick leave and 6 weeks vacation a year. Any non-Egyptian expats had to get work permits. They all lived in adorable homes with nice gardens.
              The pyramids were financed out of PPPs just like the hospital one, and not like the airport one.

        • Mike Hind says:

          Um.. you might want to do some research on that…

        • zingums says:

          The pyramids were built by and for the biggest slaveowners in Egypt and Nubia. Or to put it differently, the royal “we” you’re claiming descendance from.

          I trust from this point on you might be more forgiving of the old masters of Bermudian history (of any colour) and less denunciatory of their offspring.

  3. Awesome young lady, nice to see some of our young people are not socially conditioned.

  4. Politricks says:

    “To begin with, why is that we only have one month acknowledging our years’ worth of history”

    Who is we? Black history month is an American thing. Not Bermuda’s.

  5. Southampton says:

    I am not black or white.
    Why is Black History Month so advertised?
    I am so tired of it.
    Actually, there should be a “People History Month”.
    All people should be celebrated for what they
    have accomplished over the years.

    By continually expressing one race, why can’t
    we express all races.

    What happened in the past is gone for ever.
    Let us look forward to the future and work together.
    Do not discriminate the races.
    Think about it.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Seriously?

      Do you not get that EVERY month is “People History Month”?
      Do you not get that Black and African history is and has always been SERIOUSLY undertaught in our schools?
      Do you not get that representation matters and for a young black kind who, for most of their school year, has to learn about European and American History, that learning about their own culture might be a good thing for them?

      This is an incredibly privileged position to take on your part

      • zingums says:

        Plain old History is undertaught in Bermuda schools. This probably says less about the subject or subjects than the institutions themselves.

    • Because we live in a society where Black People have been discredited for years and still discredited, we didnt get the recognition we deserved and most of the invetions were stolen from us. Most of the Holidays represent the white society and you lie about Christopher Columbus discovering America.
      What has happened in the past is gone but our present is a result of the horrible History that some in society benefit from through a racist system.
      Thats why we have BET because the mainstream entities ( Grammy’s, Oscar’s etc were not giving Black people their due diligence so we had to honour our own.
      Waconda forever.

      • zingums says:

        “… that some in society benefit from through a racist system.”

        A society in which you seem to benefit quite readily. So are you a member of the select few? If not, why do you act like it?

      • peelpee says:

        ““… that some in society benefit from through a racist system.””

        Correct…the majority race in Bermuda benefits from their racism towards the minority races.
        In other words, Bermuda is not a democracy.

    • PBanks says:

      Great, an All Lives Matter type on this forum.

      What you are deliberately misunderstanding is that concepts like BHM aren’t done to promote one group of people at the expense of others. In places where people of colour were essentially second-class citizens for a long period of time, concepts like this served to uplift parts of the community.

      Now if you want to debate the merits of BHM in a country where the majority population is black, as opposed to having ‘black history’ highlighted throughout the year, then great.

    • To SOUTHAMPTON:

      You are tired of Black History month… not me.
      What I am sick and tired of is the caucous people behaving as though they are superior. So funny. No one is above anyone else.
      They raise their younguns to think and behave just like them!!
      That s what I am tires of and it is sooo funny to observe.

  6. Shari-Lynn Pringle says:

    Well done Lisbeth! It is always good to get an opinion from our young people however some of the things she laments are exactly why when we say Black Lives Matter someone comes out and says all lives matter. Privilege. Because of the lack of Afrikan history in our schools, we hear an opinion on Black History Month that makes it obvious that there has been no instruction to the student/s why there is a Black History Month, why it is in February and – notwithstanding this one month of recognition – that every month IS Black history month, just like every month is cancer awareness, diabetes awareness, sexual assault awareness, etc. Just like we live 365 days a year over and over again but take only one to really celebrate. I strongly advise anyone interested in learning their history from the beginning enroll in the Ashay University class Life Before Enslavement with Mwalimu Melodye Micere Van Putten. It’s an eye-opening, empowering class especially for the young black person struggling with what it means to be Afrikan every day.
    PS: It still amazes me that this young person can share her face and her views yet most of the commenters still need to use an alias.

  7. Warwick Beaches says:

    To answer your questions Ms. Alvarez, basically no to all of them. Ignorance is bliss. I see it more as some of our people are less academic or intellectually curious.Then there is the cases of the Onion Juices….Moving into the future more of our history will come to light and we will get a better and more accurate view of the African narrative. Black history month does a lot for inciting historical research and pushing the narrative.

  8. Real Deal says:

    I wonder how Bermudian kids will do on the Baby Doll test in 2018.It would be an interesting school project.

  9. TMHsBattleAxe says:

    I feel what Lisbeth Alvarez is saying and I used to feel the same way. To me its fine to celebrate Black history in February but to continue learning about your ancestors thorough the year. Everyday can’t be a holiday. Sure its the shortest month but it was extended from Negro history week. We should take it upon ourselves to further our studies and encourage others to do so too.

  10. Rocky5 says:

    Why not have 8 months of Black History and 4 months of non-black history?

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