The Golden State Warriors got veteran Draymond Green back from knee-related rest for their comeback 123-105 win over the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday, the last day of Black History Month. After contributing 12 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds in the victory, Green posed some earnest questions.
“At some point, can we get rid of Black History Month? Why do we get the shortest month to celebrate our history?” Green asked.
Green was responding to a question about George Clinton, a funk musician. Clinton's music is often mentioned in conversations about afrofurism, an art genre that centers Black history and culture via science fiction, often with a consideration of slavery. The two took a photo together before the game at the Chase Center in San Francisco.
“I don’t listen to George Clinton every day, but what I do want to go back to is Black History Month,” Green said. Noting that he only wore the NBA’s celebration-themed shirts because he couldn’t find anything else, Green made it clear that his issue is not the celebration of Black history.
“We’ve got governors who want to take our history out of schools, and I’m not going to be the fool to say, ‘Yeah, we can celebrate it for 28 days,'” Green added. “So at some point, I’d like to get rid of it. We’re making all these changes in the world — can’t talk about these people, can’t say this, can’t say that.”
Green was referring to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who blocked a new national high school advanced placement course on Black history in January, claiming that the class pushed a political agenda. Green, 32, has two daughters and a son.
His postgame comments warrant a look back into why and how Black History Month came to be.
The "father of Black history," Carter G. Woodson first set out to designate a time to promote and educate people about Black history and culture in 1926. He landed on the second week of February, which includes the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, as a way of "commemorating the black past," according to ASALH.
His goal was to raise the visibility of a community that helped shape the nation but was effectively made invisible through the lens of history at the time. By the late 1960s, Negro History Week had evolved into what we now call Black History Month.
Four decades after the formal recognization of Black History Month, Barack Obama delivered a message about it as the nation's first Black president.
"Black History Month shouldn't be treated as though it is somehow separate from our collective American history or somehow just boiled down to a compilation of greatest hits from the March on Washington or from some of our sports heroes," Obama said.
Green’s sentiments, delivered from his platform as a prominent sports figure, aren’t so different.
“At some point, it’s time to get rid of Black History Month. Not get rid of Black history, like they’re trying to do,” Green said Tuesday. “But Black History Month? Nah, teach my history from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, and then do it again. And then again. And then again. And then again. That’s what I’d like to see.”
With their third straight win, the Warriors enter March at fifth place in the Western Conference and a 32-30 record.