Black History Month
Black History Month carries a juxtaposition of celebration and weight. Historically, February is the month dedicated to recognizing the accomplishments of African Americans. There are many, pouring over the edge of the music industry into every single area of modern day society. However, that’s where the weight leans heavily, too.
Many of these people who helped shape America do not receive the recognition they deserve. This is due to a myriad of factors beginning with our country’s deeply-ingrained history with racism. The New York Times posted a lengthy photo project of previously-unpublished photographs of African Americans and the stories behind the photos. Titled “Unpublished Black History,” the label itself demonstrates the need for Black History Month.
Why It’s Important
Black accomplishments were not, and arguably are not, seen as equal to white accomplishments. It is an understanding that forces Black History Month’s importance to the forefront. When the word “history” is looked at literally, it dissects into “his story.” Coincidental, but “his story” translates into the truth of American’s history books up until present day. It is “his story,” or more specifically, “the white male’s story,” that neglects the background characters.
People acknowledge this issue from the first event ever recorded of the Western World: Christopher Columbus. In elementary school, boys and girls sing, “In fourteen-hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”
Then, the “his story” veil drops. Columbus pillaged and overtook the land from the Native Americans. Here lies the first example where American history crosses paths with perspective. Since the white man’s first foot on Western soil, those in power shaped American history. This is why Black History Month remains important. Its continued legacy reminds us that there are other characters in the story who might have had a greater impact than we will ever know.
Overt and subliminal racism, in all its forms, is something that many continue to fight to squander. However, redoing hundreds of years isn’t an option, but moving forward is.
African American Artists: From Then to Now (1940-Present)
A huge part of the African American influence is through the country’s music industry. Black artists are arguably the most creative, influential, and innovative musicians in American music. From the rise of jazz to blues to hip-hop, African Americans are the integral part to the success of the American music industry. In order to recognize these artists and celebrate the month, here are the highlights of African American musicians through the decades.
Note: Artists categorized based on date of first album release.