Black History Month as we know it now, began in 1926 as Negro History Week, founded by Dr. Carter G. Woodson. He never saw it as a one-week-a-year affair but something to be taught constantly. He believed that Black History was too important to America and the world to be crammed into a limited time frame. Dr. Woodson looked forward to the time when an annual celebration would no longer be necessary. He spoke of a shift from Negro History Week to Negro History year, a sentiment that we share and hope to contribute to with the Kinsey Collection.
Black History Month is extremely important because African American history is in fact an integral part of American history as a whole. African Americans have played a huge role in building and shaping this country since it’s inception. From slavery, in which this nation’s wealth and power was built upon, to our contributions in the military, medicine, science, agriculture, education, government and the arts, we have done remarkable things.
These remarkable achievements are rarely found in classroom history books, most of us only got small fragments of African American history in school. The Kinsey Collection strives to fill in the blanks that our history books left out. The Kinsey Collection is an exhibit containing primary source documents, books, manuscripts and artworks dating from 1604 to the present that showcases the many contributions and achievements of African Americans. The exhibit is now on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, DC through May 1, 2011, and is expected to have 2.5 million visitors. The Kinsey Collection exhibit and companion coffee table book was recently adopted by the Florida Department of Education as part of the African American history curriculum for grades K-12 throughout the state. We are extremely proud to share collection with the world and are very happy to have Southwest Airlines as a sponsor.
We study history for four basic reasons: to learn its lessons, to absorb its spirit of human possibility, to extract and emulate as models of human excellence and achievement, and to observe and practice the morality of remembrance. It is our mission to share this history, not only to aid in African American identity, but hopefully to provide a cultural bridge, one that begins a much needed dialogue that addresses and dispels stereotypes and social ills. The Kinsey Collection strives to give our unsung ancestors a voice, personality, and name, thus bringing them to life. It is important that we remember, learn, and grow from each other’s rich histories.