Does Black History Month Represent All Blacks?

In a piece for Time magazine, Christina Greer wonders where foreign-born black Americans fit into the annual February celebration.

Rosa Parks (Jeff Kowalsky/Getty); portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat (Filippo Monteforte)

Writing in Time magazine, Christina Greer wonders where foreign-born black Americans fit into the annual February celebration.

The origins of this month began in 1926 when historian Carter G. Woodson (and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History) announced the second week of February to be "Negro History Week."...

At the time, less than 3% of the blacks living in America were foreign-born African-Americans, according to the U.S. census. Today, census numbers show that 12% percent of blacks in the U.S. are from Africa or the Caribbean. That number will likely continue to grow as African populations are among the fastest-growing immigrant groups. Moreover, these numbers do not fully encapsulate the black ethnic diversity that exists among second and third generation blacks in the U.S.

If you want an example of the changing face of black America, look no further than the family of President Barack Obama, whose father was a Kenyan student who was part of JFK'S American Education for African Students program. Obama connects and identifies with this ethnic origin, while his wife, Michelle, connects and identifies with her black American ancestry as a descendent of slaves and share-croppers who moved from the South to northern cities during the Great Migration. Sasha and Malia represent two threads of black history in America.

Read Christina Greer's entire piece at Time.

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