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February 18, 2008

Why Black History Month?


A white friend of mine told me his 9-year-old son asked him, “If February is Black History Month, then when is White History Month?”  My friend replied, “The other 11 months.”  That’s why I take this opportunity to use my blog to promote some of the most notable and influential African-Americans in American history.  As much as I support and encourage the idea of Black History Month as a way of bringing to attention some otherwise overlooked and neglected historical figures, we need to make sure that Black History Month isn’t merely a closet that’s opened once a year to display these people as oddities, like a Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum.  Instead, we should use Black History Month as a launching point to continually educate all Americans about the diversity of their history—and how because of that diversity we are the great nation we are today.  February is when the bookstores and libraries and educational stations remind the world that history is multicultural, but it’s up to the rest of us to keep that spirit alive the rest of the year.  After all, our ultimate goal should be to one day make Black History Month unnecessary.


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Robert Bivins


Would you consider suggestions from your readers for Blacks to profile on your blog?



I can't ever remember waking up thinking, "Hey! It's white history month!" So, no, it's not the other 11 months. Black history gets a special month because people insist that they want "black" history (as if that's any different than just "history") to be especially recognized. The correct response would have been, "There is NO White History Month."


People these days need both the easy, watered-down version of things, with easy access to the more detailed version. Not everyone digests info in the same way.

This isn't directly related to this particular post, but it's worth considering in general.

Jon K.

Nice post, Kareem.

Hey, it would be helpful if, occasionally you responded to some of the posts to your blog.

The strength of a blog is that it foments dialogue. You're the leader of that dialogue.


My daughter has had to do a project every year since first grade. I can't tell you how this project has made ME appreciate the contributions of individuals like Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Keckley. I find myself grateful for this annual assignment.


And why does Black History Month happen in February, the shortest month of the year?



I applaud the tone and nature of your blog. As I sat tonight at dinner listening to my 7 year old speak of "Peg Leg Joe" and the underground railroad, while his eyes lit up and he felt disgust at the possibility of slavery, it helped me to remember just how much the diversity of our nation means to me. I am NOT proud of that portion of our history, but I am proud of the progress we've made. Don't get me wrong, I know we have more to make, and on all sides, but it's even-tempered articles such as yours that will hopefully insight education, unity and hope - a nation that can work side by side, as it has in the past!!



ps - I am also a life-time fan of yours - as an old center, I tried DESPERATELY to learn that fantastic hook shot!!

Tully Moxness

Trying to put my response in a context that would convey my thoughts is straining my brain, so I will take the easy way out and say simply "like you said". Just so you know that someone realizes how much effort you put into getting your thoughts out there. Keep up the good "hard" work, it is appreciated

Big Fella

Hopefully, the singular event of January 20, 2009 will result in a big step in the direction of making Black Hinstory Month a memory of the past. It is up to all of us to help that occur.

Austin Blackwell

I grew up in the north where there was a significant amount less prejudice than in the south. I moved to Louisiana about three years ago and I was really surprised to find out that the African American community was so greatly offended by even the slightest thing. I am the farthest thing from prejudice and I have many black friends. The African Americans in the south are the ones who segregate themselves by calling it racism when it really isn't. It isn't fair I think to stereotype African Americans as being poor, out of jobs and on welfare- I know many with great jobs and great citizens- but the job should go to the most qualified person, the welfare go to the neediest person, ect, i don't care if your black, purple, or blue. It makes me sick when the black guy doesn't get the job and them claims that it's just because their black and how racial everyone is. There is such a thing as being more qualified. If most African Americans were more worried about uniting instead of feeling like the whole world has done them a lifetime of injustices there would be no prejudice and no need for a Black History month. To say that White history month is 11 out of 12 months is BS. I'm not saying that we don't need to have Black History Month, but then there needs to be a Jewish History month ( they were the ones slaughtered by the millions, not blacks), a Latino History month, an Italian History month, an Irish History Month, and for every other minority who in some way has been harmed. They are not the only ones who have been discriminated against, and they need to remember that they are the same as me- an American. It really is time that they cried a river, built a bridge and then got over it.


when iwas little me and my bro used to bug my mom or dad on fathers or mothers day and ask them when kids day was to kinda screw with them :) we were young they would look at us and tell us... evry day is kids day, and then id feel bad and make them breakfast in bed


Kareem.I think you're the greatest, but my dad says you don't work hard enough on defense. And he says that lots of times, you don't even run down court. And that you don't really try... except during the playoffs.

Lionel St. Martin

Well said. I like your blogging, keep up the good work. Your blogging is well worth the effort and time for me to check it. Keep it fair and balanced and your points will hit home.


kareem, my contribution to black history month and barack obama, YES WE CAN! WWW.MYSPACE.COM/WENMEW1 AND WWW.JAMWAVE.COM/WENMEW7

"the chinese bird of santa monica" la jazz scene feb 2003.


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Captain Kareem

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is considered by many fans and sportswriters to be the greatest basketball player of all time. The 7-foot-2 Hall of Fame center, famous for his indefensible skyhook, dominated the NBA for 20 years, first with the Milwaukee Bucks then with the Los Angeles Lakers. Before that he was the star of the UCLA Bruins teams that won three consecutive NCAA championships. Kareem was the NBA's MVP six times, a 19-time all-star and set the NBA all-time records in nine categories. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, a record that may never be broken.

Since retiring as a player in 1989, Kareem has balanced his love of basketball with his love of history. In 2002 he led a USBL team, the Oklahoma Storm, to a championship. Since 2005, he has been the special assistant coach for the Lakers, working with Andrew Bynum.

In 2008 he was chosen The Greatest Player in College Basketball History.

Kareem also remains intellectually active, authoring six bestselling history books intended to popularize the contributions of African-Americans to American culture and history. His books include "Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement"; "Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes"; "A Season on the Reservation," which chronicles his time teaching basketball and history on an Apache Indian reservation in White River, Ariz.; and the current New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller, "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance."

His audio adaptation, "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Audio & Musical Journey through the Harlem Renaissance," is a four-volume compilation read by Bob Costas, Avery Brooks, Jesse L. Martin, and Stanley Crouch, and features private and fascinating conversations with dozens of icons, including Coach John Wooden, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Angelou, Quincy Jones and Billy Crystal. He has also been written to L.A. Times, under the Sports section.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been appearing on various radio stations and TV shows, as well as the most relevant websites talking about his life and his new audio book, On the Shoulders of Giants.

All images are property of www.iconomy.com unless otherwise stated. All info copyrighted and owned by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not replicated without permission.

Come meet Kareem at the NBA Store on 5th Avenue: Friday, May 16th, from 3:15pm - 4:15pm.

Kareem_READ The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has joined the popular Celebrity READ poster series. The Celebrity READ poster campaign is one of the most effective ways to encourage people to get a good education, improve their reading skills, and to read for sheer enjoyment.
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar is the 2008 Honorary Chair Library Card Sign-up Month, which takes place in September. He will also appear at the American Library’s National Convention on June 28th and 29th at the Long Beach Convention Center to sign his poster.

To purchase Mr. Abdul-Jabbar's poster and to view the entire line of Celebrity READ Posters, please click here. now!

Kareem_jersey Join the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Fan Club
and win a chance to receive a prize from my official store !

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ESPN names Kareem The Greatest Player In College Basketball History

Check the latest about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Go to KareemAbdulJabbar.com for more news.
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