Jeffrey Aaron Snyder

Jeffrey Aaron Snyder is assistant professor in the educational studies department at Carleton College. He is the author of Making Black History: The Color Line, Culture, and Race in the Age of Jim Crow

Recent Articles

The Staying Power of Black History Month

For decades, critics disputed whether African American history merited recognition. Yet in an era of fake news and alternative facts, Black History Month encourages Americans to face up to hard truths.

AP Photo/Henry Griffin Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X smile for photographers in Washington in 1964 E very February, historians, pundits, and celebrities declare Black History Month dead. Why do we need a special month to commemorate African American history, the critics say, when it is no longer ignored the rest of the year? For almost a century, Black History Month has been debated and disparaged. But in the current political climate, the country needs these midwinter reflections. Not the rah-rah version of a history that sings the praises of African American heroes and heroines and reduces them to postage stamps. But the radical incarnation that exposes the darkest corners of that history and challenges people to seek out unvarnished truths about the meaning and making of the United States. When Carter G. Woodson created Negro History Week in 1926, the Mississippi Valley Historical Review , the era’s most prestigious U.S. history journal, said the celebration was “animated by...