Arts & Culture: What Do the Four Colors of Black History Month Represent?

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Americans celebrate Black History Month in February, and in the United Kingdom, it’s celebrated in October. Nonetheless, both acknowledge the contributions of black people around the world. The event was first held in 1976 and is a chance to learn about black history. Aside from the figures you hear about, what do the four colors of Black History Month represent?

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The Colors of Black History Month

There are four colors used during Black History Month: red, black, yellow, and green. These colors are on the flags of many African countries, including the pan-African flag. Each color is significant:

What Do the Four Colors of Black History Month Represent?

Red

Red on most African flags represents the blood shed during the fight for the country’s independence. A lot of liberation leaders put their lives on the line to secure a place for black people in history. Innocent civilians were also caught in these fights. 

Many were forced out of their homes and treated inhumanely. Some were falsely detained and tortured, while others were captured and sent to foreign lands to work as laborers. Nonetheless, black people, through different movements, organized rallies and protests, which eventually led to their liberation.  

Green

Black people owned some of the most fertile lands before colonialists threw them out and made them settlers. This led some to lose their land, and even after independence, some weren’t able to reclaim their portions. 

Furthermore, the African continent is rich in natural resources. From wildlife, enchanting landscapes, minerals and water bodies, the scramble of Africa has always been centred around these riches. 

Today, there’s a great push to have items collected from the continent and placed in museums in Europe or America returned to their countries of origin. It’s another push to decolonize and recognize the atrocities that happened across black communities

Black 

When Marcus Garvey decided to adopt the liberation flag, he noted that all other races at the time had a flag representing them. Black people have contributed to the growth of the Western countries. During the colonial era, they were exploited for labor. 

Today, it’s only fair to acknowledge that and compensate them for the pains caused by the inhumane conditions they worked in. This is the reason why the narrative around giving reparations has gained traction. Also, black people are demanding an apology from these countries that enabled their suffering. 

In contemporary times, groups like the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States are calling for the end of racial discrimination toward black people. They are also calling for proper representation and better treatment across all levels of society

Yellow

This is the hope that black people have that things will get better. The equality and the justice they are striving for will finally be delivered. Today, black people have a lot of milestones to celebrate. 

African countries gained their independence, the United States had its first black president, and black people were increasingly included in the political, economic and social systems.  

Origins of Plan African Flag

The Pan-African flag was designed by Jamaican activist Marcus Garvey. Garvey believed that black people should have a liberation flag. `

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He was the first president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and they adopted it in 1920 to secure a political home for black people. 

Flags are a powerful gesture as they denote association and territory, meaning that black people had something to identify them. Many African flags are influenced by the pan-African flags and the history behind them.

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Origins of Black History Month

Black History Month started as the Negro History Week in 1926. It was started by Carter G Woodson, who spent time studying Black Life and History. 

He and his association, now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, settled for February because former American President Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was in that month. 

Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which led to the end of slavery in the Confederate States in 1863. They also did it in honor of Frederick Douglass

In the run-up to the expansion of Negro History Week to Black History Month, the popularity and significance of the event became evident. As of 1976, Black History Month was celebrated throughout February.  

Black History Today

Today, the month is highly publicized and documented. People pay homage to all African Americans who fought for their liberation. 

Additionally, activists, leaders, and many institutions use this month to reflect on their treatment of African Americans and create awareness about racial inequality. 

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What do the four colors of Black History Month represent? We hope you now understand the significance of the colors behind the event. Additionally, you now understand the origins of the event and why it’s celebrated. 

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