February is Black History Month, a time to reflect on issues of race and religion and celebrate the important roles African Americans have played in the development of the United States. Recognition of those roles from a historical perspective is an important step in celebrating the contributions of individuals and the collective changes the African American community has brought about.

"Black History Month is with us because, for a variety of reasons, black history has been ignored, revised or distorted too often in our history books. We find it difficult to explore honestly the reasons a study of black history makes so many of us uncomfortable," the Rev. Gilbert Caldwell, a retired leader who was active in the civil rights movement, wrote in a UM News Service commentary a few years ago.

"We know it is essential to be historically correct about the issues in England that energized the efforts that established the United States. We understand Israel exists in the main because of the history of the oppression of the Jewish people. However, there is difficulty for some people in admitting the existence of American slavery made necessary the abolition movement and the reality of racial segregation provoked and evoked the U.S. civil rights movement," he said. 

If we do not remember accurately the negatives of the past, he said, we may repeat them. "Failure to remember the negatives deprives us of the opportunity to celebrate the magnificent progress we have made as a nation since slavery and legal racial segregation," he explained. 

Sharing the Stories: African American Methodist Heritage Center

 

Vital Conversations

The General Commission on Race and Religion of the United Methodist Church offers Vital Conversations on Racism Video Series as a way to begin the conversations and be part of the change in dismantling racism. Through Vital Conversations and other initiatives, the General Commission on Race and Religion offers resources to facilitate, resource, guide, and support discussions on how to move to efficacy, justice, and courageous positive action.

Resources

The New York Times offers Unpublished Black History, revealing moments in history through unpublished photos.

United Methodist Church agencies offer a variety of resources to help us remember and celebrate Black History Month.

 

2016 Events