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I love Black History Month. True, I grew up in Arizona, which was the last state in the union to observe a civil rights holiday by any name. And true, it ultimately took losing the 1993 Super Bowl (and all its associated economic benefits) to convince Arizona voters to enact Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the first place. But while I was growing up, those uncomfortable facts contributed to making February my favorite month of every school year. Being a socially aware person in Arizona during those events – child though I was – made history real for me. With few exceptions, the names and dates and places we were given to study in school were only approached in the past tense, but black history was alive and unfolding. It still is.
Now I’m grown and trying to raise another socially aware person – child though he is. I think I have it pretty easy: My son loves to ask hard questions, his school is very diverse, and he will never remember a time before America had a black president. However, because Black History Month is a month of living history, there’s always something new to learn and new ways to participate.