The magic of February allows us to fully engage in the fondness of others and extend love in unmeasurable quantities. It brings to many the communication of adoration by speech or deed that go hand in hand during the first 14 days of the month leading to Valentine’s Day.
With a quick celebration of past presidents and a slow motion ending to the 28th day of the month, not much is mentioned otherwise by the general population unless it’s a leap year. But to a community of African American citizens who seek to expand the accuracy of endurance by sharing perspectives of truth as only they can, the second month of a new year yields 28 days of a rich history with stories entwined with love for legacy and hope. Each day of the month is to be lived out in a creative and cultural expression of honor in recognition of Black History Month.
It marks more to the human experience of love than just Valentine’s. February offers observances of historical value that act as sustaining anchors of awareness in the richness of our community that endure throughout the year.
Opportunities arise that can be life altering to any and all who choose to be more acquainted with the reminiscences of the past and hope for an ingenuous future. History is in our blood, and it moves beyond the genetics into the physical action of our beings made more aware.
The stories and endeavors that make the month of February more meaningful are the celebrations that bind the struggle of hard work, unfair labor, societal poverty, academic achievement, and a call to excellence that the progenitor requires of the African American community and fellow citizens alike. Recollections of times past with memories of perseverance that give life to other unsung persons that walked with Dr. King, rode with Rosa Parks, spoke with Maya Angelou, or auscultated to the formidable words of Oprah; individuals whose stories are forever etched in our hearts.
Stories that move beyond the pages of history books or oral conversations and partner with other celebrations within a month devoted to love and coupled with an ardency for civic duty, settles on the month imitating fallen confetti. The knowledge of black history shares a designation for our love to flow and our hearts to be made joyful.
We seldom seek the history of Valentine’s Day. Its place in history cannot be pinpointed to one particular defining moment, but inquires will find various stories to its origin. From the ancient Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia to an established day of feast on the Roman calendar for a temple priest, Saint Valentine, who performed marriages for Christian couples, to the passion of love attached to the day by English poet Geoffrey Chaucer.
When we express our love on February 14 without any historical gain, we are energized from the thought of a three-day weekend that concludes on Presidents Day. It’s the third Monday of the month and memorializes the significance of our past presidents. Originally celebrating our first President George Washington, this recognition dates back to 1885 and has become more commonly observed to include Abraham Lincoln. And as time has changed, so has the acknowledgement of the day and how history found a place on the calendar assisted by The Uniform Monday Holiday Act signed into law June 28, 1968 and took effect on January 1, 1971.
But for history’s sake, February must be embraced on the first day of the month with its celebratory start of Black History Month and connect all the love, pomp and circumstance, and commitment to people of color who have contributed to many successes we celebrate today. Since 1976, every U.S. President has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. And whether or not we agree fully with the brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson, it is always in our best interest to gain a greater perspective of each other.