2024 Black History Month’s sad irony

Book cover for 100 Questions & Answers About African Americans
In a disappointing three-way mixup of Civil Rights figures, Target has pulled its Black History Month book off the shelves.

The book scrambled identifications for images of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois and Carter G. Woodson. Washington was an author and educator; Du Bois was a sociologist/historian; and Woodson, a historian and journalist, is known as the father of Black History Month. To be misidentified in a book created to mark his month …

U.S. history teacher Issa Tete bought the book for her students, and noticed the goof. She did not take it back; she took to TikTok. The rest, we’ll say, is history. The book came down and Woodson received more attention than he has had in years — for the very circumstances he was working against.

Here’s how the Bias Busters series of guides explains the reason for the month in “100 Questions and Answers About African Americans:”

What is Black History Month?
The idea had its origins in 1915. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard PhD, and friends established the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The Journal of Negro History began a year later. In 1926, Woodson created Negro History Week to bring attention to history that was not in school curricula. Starting with Gerald R. Ford in 1976, U.S. presidents have annually recognized February as Black History Month. The United Kingdom and Canada observe it, as well. Some say Black history should be taught all year and that designating a month for it confines and diminishes Black history.

This answer and 99 others are in “100 Questions and Answers About African Americans,” a Bias Buster guide created in a journalism class at Michigan State University. We’ll share a couple more from that guide and “100 Questions and Answers About the Black Church” during Black History Month.

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