Here's a quiz for you. Do you know who was the first person to establish a blood plasma bank? Can you name the inventor who built the first machine to attach soles to shoes?
If you answered Dr. Charles Drew and Jan Matzeliger you were correct. You also probably know more about blacks in American history than most Americans. And this is a tragedy that still hasn't changed very much, even though February marks the start of Black History Month.
Most Americans--black and white--still have a scanty knowledge of the contributions of blacks to this country's history. Despite the usual fanfare that accompanies the start of Black History Month, black achievements remain little more than a curiosity item that is too removed from the lives of most Americans to be taken very seriously.
Sadly, much of the blame lies not with white racists who belittle blacks, but with well-meaning black writers and activists. By compartmentalizing black accomplishments into one month they have ghettoized black history, and removed it from the mainstream story of America's growth and development.