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Candidate for Michigan governor wants to end Black History Month

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 6:02 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A man looking to be Michigan’s next governor has an unusual campaign promise to end Black History Month in Michigan and it’s drawing a lot of attention.

“We don’t need to have multiple history months for the Black History Month, or any other history month for that matter. All that should matter is the American History Month because that’s what binds us together,” said Austin Chenge.

Chenge has no background in politics but says getting rid of individual history months is what Michigan needs.

“We must first understand that we’re Americans. That’s the first thing that binds us together. If we have to return to our individual groups, where we come from, then it’s absolutely polarizing. Nothing is going to be done,” he said.

His pitch, which has brought a lot of attention to his quiet campaign, is creating an American History Month in February instead.

We asked Chenge whether this was a real goal or a publicity stunt for more attention and money.

“No, absolutely not. I think they’re being fooled by candidates that have come up before and have lied. Now, Austin Chenge stands by his statement. I guarantee I’m gonna go through with it,” said Chenge.

But there are people and groups like the Lansing NAACP who are already calling his promise offensive and wrong.

“I think when you come in and attack a full body of history or a history of people that made great contributions to this country, that, to me, that is the approach of divisiveness and not an approach of bringing people together,” said second Vice President James McCurtis.

McCurtis says Black History is too valuable to do away with.

“There were many years of history lessons in schools in books that excluded Black history, as if it didn’t exist, and those contributions as if they didn’t exist, and that’s the reason why Carter G. Woodson started Black History Week and then, you know, became Black History Month,” said McCurtis.

He says black history and accomplishments deserve to be “singled out and celebrated.”

“To try to get rid of the very thing that raises awareness and makes sure that those contributions are known in our children and our schools and everyday society. To try to erase that is a travesty,” said McCurtis.

Chenge says regardless of the outrage and criticism, he’s moving forward.

“No one should be offended if we’re going to have an American History Month, unless if they’re trying to say that somehow, they’re not American,” said Chenge.

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