p.p1 Woodson notes in 1926 that “the Negro

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Moreover, the idea of “Americanness” has further divided the different races in the United States as the white population and some minorities have chosen to rewrite or forget America’s slave past. On the founding of Negro History Week (later becomes Black History Month) Carter Woodson notes in 1926 that “the Negro knows practically nothing of his history and his ‘friends’ are not permitting him to learn it”. Similar to Fredrick Douglass years prior, W. E. B. Du Bois saw the reconciliation of the South and North as a foreshadowing of forgetting black history because “the South is determined to rewrite the history of slavery and the North is not interested in history but in wealth.” This paramount to why the idea of “Americanness” falters because due to white Americas failure to accept or care about their racial history they alienate minorities, their background, and their contribution to American society. Douglass cautioned against white Americans ability of “overgenerous forgetfulness”, in which minorities and the wider American population are led by people who would rather “compromise with the truth in the past in order to make peace in the present”. Maurice Halbwachs believes that individuals need independent confirmation by people of their groups of their memories, and throughout American history since the Civil War, America society has been censoring that history. Forgetfulness of the American past gives white Americans a different outlook to the historical significance of the minority struggle and undermines their cultural relevance which further divides the population and challenges the notion of having one shared American identity. For the concept of “Americanness” to be upheld, race and America’s racial past would have to become part of the American identity.

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