Our View: Passing on the torch

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Murray State News.

February marks the celebration of Black History Month across the nation, and many communities and groups are taking part in one of our nation’s most important recognitions.

The importance of this month has recently been disputed by many as unneeded and trying to make one group seem more special than others. This view is wrong.

Black History Month is a time for us to reflect and explore the culture and lives of those African-Americans who have shaped our nation. Sometimes this means remembering those times we most want to forget. But the importance of this history has the great effect of healing those wounds.

This year’s theme is “Black Women in American Culture and History” and despite the crass words of some commentators, we should be inspired to learn more about our black forebears. Yes, we say our forebears, because the great men and women of this nation were not all defined by their titles and economic success.

Like the majority of the people who make up our nation’s history, they were doing well to be defined at all. And that a few had a light bright enough to shine through the shadows of their oppressors is more than cause for respect and admiration.

They are our forebears. But through unfortunate events the scope of our historical reflection in this country is defined by the narrow view of textbooks and ill-prepared instructors. So we are left with two options: forget this important history and forsake our ancestors or find some way to honor them for their endeavors. This is the true essence of Black History Month, and we would do well to remember it from time to time.

University President Randy Dunn said he is more than in favor of keeping Black History Month.

“I know there is some debate that goes on about pulling out these special recognitions or holidays for various groups throughout the course of a year,” Dunn said. “But I do think there’s value in celebrating these events.”

Dunn said the University is making the spirit of the month a core value here on campus.

“One of the values we have at the University is diversity and inclusiveness,” Dunn said. “Anything that provides an avenue to learn more about that and engage in ways to honor various groups, I think, is a good thing.”

We think it is a good thing as well, and hope to see the University grow even more in this way.