Do We Need Black History? – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

Do We Need Black History? – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

Dr. Dhanpaul Narine

Do we need Black History? Should we set aside a month for the study of Black History? Do Blacks have a history anyway? The social media is abuzz with views on these topics. In an effort to answer such questions the life and times of Amos Beman is pertinent. The young Beman had his heart set on attending Wesleyan but in 1832 the college was not admitting Blacks. The Board of Trustees passed a resolution on October 10, 1832 saying that, ‘none but white male persons shall be admitted as students of this institution.’

Beman was tutored three times a week in the living room of abolitionist Samuel P. Dole as private tutoring was quite common at the time. Beman grew up and became an influential pastor. In 1843 Noah Webster who is famous for his thesaurus asked Beman for his views on Black History. After a discussion Webster concluded that Blacks do not have a history and worse yet ‘there can be none.’  

The view that Blacks are outside the mainstream of history and are confined to barbarism took root among many intellectuals and policymakers. History has shown that Blacks had to overcome many obstacles before they were given the right to vote in America. Public education with an integrated school system came only in 1954 with Brown v Board of Education.

Read more: Do we need Black History – By Dr. Dhanpaul Narine



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  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On February 13, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    I clicked on the link to “diaspora-plus” but found no information on the people behind this business venture.

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      Derrick John Jeffrey was born in Robb Street Georgetown, Guyana; attended Bedford Methodist and Tutorial High School. He is the author of the 1971 Guyana National Short Story winner, “STAND PIPE” and the person responsible for putting Steelbands in schools in Guyana, during his days as a Cultural Officer at the History and Arts Council.
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  • Winston Yaw  On February 13, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    The title should be ammended to read “American Black History Month” referencing the history of blacks in America covering the period of when this once British Colony became a republic. If as the Geneticists claim, that all humanity came out of Africa. It is unclear how a month can suffice to study black history. Perhaps as the article conclluded it is a start for those really interested in black history education. The African continent is huge, and the population so varied, that it would take a lifetime to truly study its history. Anthropology is not a black American’s fav vocation

  • Albert  On February 13, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    “American Black History Month”
    It also only tells us about a colour, not of a people or their identification with a place, as with say Italian or Jewish History. Why not African American History.
    The sad thing is that many Afro Americans think their American history is all that exist. Or they have no interest in going further.

    Once had a discussion on Afro American history with an Afro college graduate and suggested he read the Autobiography of Malcolm X. His response was what did a Catholic Pope had to do with the discussion.

    Be careful about who you discuss this topic.

  • Clyde Duncan  On February 14, 2016 at 7:53 am

    At some point the discourse may veer off into discussing how “Black people and First Nations People” are identified – A couple of books by Adele Perry may be helpful:

    On the Edge of Empire: Gender, Race, and the Making of British Columbia, 1849-1871

    Colonial Relations: The Douglas-Connolly Family and the Nineteenth-Century Imperial World

    Sir James Douglas is not identified as a “black man” as yet, in some communities here in British Columbia, but here is a quote of interest in one of the books:

    “This leads me to the contention that both race and gender are not inevitable and fixed categories; but rather historically constructed ones that are not created through biology as much as they are normalized through biological discourses.”

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