Olivia Ryan – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – February is African American History Month when Americans take the time to recognize the achievements made by African Americans throughout history.

The month was created by Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Today, schools across the country recognize this month with displays and presentations.

Schools have played a crucial role in the lives of African Americans for years. Gaining respect from the school system was not an easy thing to come by.

LRHS history teacher Portia Gause said, “I believe my role as an educator has allowed me to teach areas of African American history from a place of authenticity. It has allowed me a platform to help my students understand why some historical events and experiences should never happen again.”

Lowell High School located in Massachusetts was the first school open to all races in 1843. Although African Americans were able to attend, the treatment of all the students would not be equal.

Segregation was widespread throughout America, and it was not until 1954 when Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka took place and the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public education.

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It took over a century from 1849 to 1954 to get segregation suspended in schools.

Once segregation was out of the classrooms, the treatment of African American students improved; however it was not an immediate change.

Even today, worldwide, the average enrollment of African Americans in public schools is low.

A recent survey by National Center for Education Statistics said, “Between fall of 2009 and fall of 2018 the percentage of students who were Black decreased from 17 to 15 percent.”

Woodson’s reasoning for having African American history month was to bring cultural awareness to African Americans and look back at their history.

This month represents so much more than people may think. African Americans have worked so hard to get where they are today and recognition for that is rightly deserved.