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American music and dance has little significance without the recognition of black influences.Spirituals, jazz and the blues are a vital and important part of American culture.
One cannot, for instance, hope to thoroughly study the factors leading to the Civil War or Reconstruction without investigating the issue of slavery and the emancipation of those slaves.
To speak of the experience of black people in America (as some are inclined to do during the month of February) as independent of the American social, political and economic forces at work in our country is a misreading of history at best and a flagrant attempt to rewrite it at worst.
Of course very few people will be courageous enough during February to say that it's irrelevant whether or not Cleopatra and Jesus were black, since their experiences have not the slightest kinship with those of black Americans.
It is not very difficult to understand why the distant (usually African) past is used as a way to give blacks a sense of cultural identity.
This may come as a surprise to the even casual observer, since I am black.In my humble estimation Black History Month is a thriving monument to tokenism which, ironically, has been wholeheartedly embraced and endorsed by the black community.