Friday, February 6, 2009

Wangari Maathai And Black History Month

from Jess Washington at the Associated Press who did an article on
Time to end Black History Month?

Should Black History Month itself fade into history? No way. An excerpt from the story about a teacher that I'm proud to know:

At Daniel Warren Elementary in Mamaroneck, N.Y., kindergarten teacher Jane Schumer has dedicated many hours this year to the story of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for leading a movement that planted millions of trees in Africa.
Schumer connected Maathai's story to Obama, who planted a tree in her program and whose father was from Kenya. She connected Maathai to Martin Luther King Jr., who like Maathai was jailed for fighting injustice.
Schumer doesn't have any special black history plans for February.
"It can't be contrived," says Schumer. "It's a way of thinking, a way of life ... to me, the whole year has built up to this month ... the emphasis we have is what people would want to accomplish with Black History Month."
Steve O'Rourke, who has a kindergartner at Warren Elementary, says his son wants to ask Maathai, "You and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. both went to jail for doing the right thing. What did it feel like to be in jail?"
"Whenever we denote something as belonging in a certain month, it becomes tempting to say it belongs in that month alone ... ," says O'Rourke. "Ideally I would like us to have a common rather than compartmentalized history."


Kathryn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathryn said...

I agree - Black History Month is still necessary for educating society about a lesser-known group of people. We of course would like to move to a point where Black History IS American History, but until then we need to highlight those that have achieved so much for racial equality.

One of those people is Thurgood Marshall. Gilbert King is writing a book on Marshall's groundbreaking efforts in American politics, and he made a short video tying Marshall to our new president, Barack Obama. It's an interesting educational alternative that should be shared during this amazing month.

blogger templates | Make Money Online