Planting a Seed: Black History at Texas Tech

According to History.com, the story of Black History Month began in 1915. Historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). 
This was an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and others of African descent.

In 1926, the group developed national Negro History week, choosing to celebrate the second week of February to coincide with Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass’s birthdays.

“We can’t separate U.S. History from African American History, we can’t separate African American History from U.S. History,” Jacynda Ammons.

Ammons, who holds a doctorate of philosophy in history, is a professor of African American History until 1877 at Texas Tech University.

“I was always interested in African American History, and it is experiences that I’ve had along the way of learning more about African American History that further developed that,” Ammons said.

She recounts a time growing up in in her all-white high school playing against basketball teams who were predominantly black.

“It was really sad when my sister, and myself, would play against teams that had African-American players and some of the things that we would hear friends and family members of other players say… It was kind of weird for my sister and I. Why would you talk like that?”

Her parents did not grow up in a community such as their surrounding neighbors, and they taught her and her sister to be different. She was taught to treat people as they should be treated, and not by the color of their skin.

She said experiences such as these growing up partly explains her interest in African-American History.

She feels the need to make African-American History a part of the national narrative. Being a white woman, she believes she brings a different perspective, but she tries to identify in ways that she can with her black students.

Click here to view the timeline of Black History at Texas Tech University.

 

“Racism in all of its forms still exist throughout the world,” she said. “There was a phrase to say after President Obama’s first election and then after being re-elected, ‘well we live in a post racial world.’ No, we don’t. I think anyone who is honest with themselves and with being conscious of what goes on in the world that you cannot deny it’s still a problem.”

She noted how in certain cases, some people’s lack of knowledge and understanding of African American/ Black culture leads them to participate in acts of micro-aggression.

“Black History Month is a time to actually focus on the ways that African-American history, and African history quite frankly, have influenced the United States. I think [Black History Month] helps. If nothing else just to put a little seed of something that people might not have known before.”

Ammons recommends for those who do not know much about black history to take courses that focus on it, go to events, or seek out people who are interested in African-American history and literature.

About Kayla Black

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