By Sheila Huff

This blog post was written by EVPL Board of Trustees member, Sheila Huff.


The United States of America has designated the month of February to acknowledge and celebrate African Americans in a number of ways. While this is admirable, it is merely the tip of the iceberg. The contributions of African Americans are vast. It would be impossible to recognize and acknowledge them all in one month. The trials, hardships, contributions, successes, and accomplishments of African Americans are woven into the fabric of American History. African American History is American History. It is impossible to fully understand American History without recognizing, accepting, and understanding the role that African Americans played in it. That history must be told explicitly without editing it to accommodate anyone. It must be accurately and factually based. The future of America is contingent upon its citizens learning, knowing, and understanding its inclusive past. This learning process is not an easy one. Open and honest dialogue about our past may cause many to experience discomfort and emotional highs and lows, but discomfort usually leads to some degree(s) of growth.

Understanding our history helps provide us with maps/guidelines to follow which will assist us in not repeating the things that have devastated and plagued our country for so long. We are unfortunately more polarized today than we have been in decades. We struggle to try to understand what “truth” really looks or sounds like, but it is essential for the human race to extricate those things that decimate, denigrate, and destroy real “truth” and reality. BLACK HISTORY MONTH helps us as a country to not forget our past and to recognize that the patchwork quilt that makes up America has been sown together with pieces that represent many different ethnic and cultural groups of which the African American has played a major role.

To deny or fail to acknowledge the contributions of African Americans to this country is in essence denying or refusing to acknowledge America. We cannot teach only parts of history. The stories of the struggles as well as the successes of Americans in America must be inclusive. The futures of the next generations are dependent upon their knowing and understanding America’s history in its totality. African American History is a 24/7-365 day journey that is inclusive of BLACK HISTORY MONTH and connects what once was, what now is and what lies ahead for America. American History is 24/7-365 and as we all live it today, we must understand that it is imperative that we learn from our past, as difficult as that may be. There will perhaps be some contempt and even anger that will gnaw at us forcing us to really examine who we are as a Nation, but there will also be a sense of hope and pride. When we stand and say the Pledge to the Flag on a daily basis, does the American spirit as we know it today really encapsulate the true meaning of “liberty and justice for all” or are they merely expounding words that sound good? If we as Americans are to live up to this creed, we must be willing to accept our past, commit to do better in our present to ensure success for America’s future. When we sing that America is the land of the free and the home of the brave, does that really ring true for all of us? We as Americans have an obligation to make certain that those words do ring true. We can do this by learning, growing, understanding, and accepting our past together. BLACK HISTORY MONTH is only a small swatch of the quilt that is recognized by some each year to help us all remember our past and embrace our future. African American History is indeed 24/7-365 because it is woven into that fabric that makes America.


Sheila Huff
EVPL Board of Trustees Member

Sheila Huff

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The Abolitionists