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The Significance of Black History and How It Benefits People of All Races: Two Scholars Answer Questions about the Contributions of African Americans

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posted on 07.02.2017, 22:14 by Roscoe Barnes IIIRoscoe Barnes III

This is a preprint of an article on Black History that Roscoe Barnes III wrote in February 2009 as a reporter for Public Opinion in Chambersburg, Pa. It features an interview with Dr. Raymond E. Janifer Sr., Professor of English and Ethnic Studies at Shippensburg University, and Dr. James Donovan, Associate Professor of History, Arts and Humanities at Penn State Mont Alto.

Janifer argues that Black History is not only relevant to contemporary society, but it has value for all people. He contends: “It’s important that we all understand each other. We all understand we are contributors.” Janifer further notes: “If people took everything out of their house that wasn’t related to African American contributions, their quality of life would be almost nil.”

According to Donovan, “African-Americans have had a profound influence on the broader American culture.” He can also see where it would be helpful to have it, on some level, “integrated into broader U.S. history or it could be seen as patronizing.”

These and other thoughts are shared in the following interview with Janifer and Donovan. In addition to discussing the importance of Black History, they answer questions about its relevance to people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. They talk about its observance for one month each year and criticism by some about its observance being a form of discrimination. Janifer and Donovan also talk about their favorite people in Black History and what they wish everyone knew about this topic. 

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