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When Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week in1926 (later to become Black History Month in 1976), to honor past black accomplishments, he had no idea that the future of black achievement could be so threatened. If it doesn't seem as though the extraordinary potential o fblacks is being realized, we shouldn't be too surprised. Substandard education, poor health care choices, and genocidal abortion rates are working together to stifle the potential of many black individuals to make the world a better place by using their talents and creativity for the improvement of themselves and the service of others. Past leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. believed that God created blacks for more than self-destruction. They desired freedom so that blacks might live according to the dignity inherent in them as children of God.

The leading causes of death for black Americans are heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. With the exception of cancer, there is much evidence to suggest links between these diseases and poor diets. According to Dr. Michael Bradley, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, quality health care in the black community has to do with “people making better food choices.” These choices are not made any easier with the fast food saturation in minority communities. In New Orleans, for example, predominantly black neighborhoods have 2.4 fast food restaurants per square mile, compared to 1.5 per square mile for white neighborhoods.

Fast food restaurants are only responding to the unhealthy food choices of blacks in these neighborhoods. If blacks did not want foods that are mired in saturated fats and loaded with calories and sodium, o rbeverages high in sucrose, fast-food restaurants would change what they provide. The nearly suicidal causal chain of unhealthy food choices, obesity,Type II diabetes, heart disease, and stroke can be broken. Unless better,educated choices are made, blacks and other Americans, failing in the stewardship of their bodies, will lack the foundation of good health on which communities of work, creativity, and prosperity can be built.

Another problem confronting the promise of a better future is educational failure. Jay Green, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute,reports that nationally only 56 percent of blacks graduate from high school. Of those black students who stay in school, around 75 percent score lower comparably situated whites on standardized tests, according to the Brookings Institution. With these numbers, many blacks are destined to be the nation's permanent service sector employees, unemployed, or welfare recipients. Uneducated and poorly educated blacks in our information and technology age are handicapped at the outset from making significant, historical contributions.

Finally, abortion ravages the black community at rates worse than slavery or Jim Crow ever did. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, over 43 percent of all black pregnancies end in abortion. Although blacks represent only 12 percentof the American population, we account for almost 35 percent of all abortions. Since 1973, more than 13 million blacks have fallen victim to abortion. Blacks in America are disappearing.

What is most bizarre about these numbers is that the so-called “black leadership” is silent. In other contexts, these statistics would warrant the charge of “racism.” In Mississippi alone, 73% percent of all of the state's abortions are by black women. Where are the NAACP and Congressional Black Caucus? If 73 percent of Mississippi's blacks were not graduating from high school, the Rainbow Coalition would organize a “March on Washington.” Why is Planned Parenthood not charged with “racial profiling” for locating 71 percent of its facilities in minority communities. Blacks, created by God with wonderful potential, cannot make history if we are not given a chance to live.

The greatest threats to the creation of black history are the choices of black people, not the actions of white people or “the system.” Some drop out of high school by choice; others remain trapped in substandard schools by government edict, even though minority parents desperately want freedom to choose the best schools. Consuming unhealthy, poisonous diets, and thereby increasing the known risks of terminal diseases, is a choice. Irresponsible sexual behavior relying on abortion as contraception is likewise a destructive decision.

In order for Black History Month to include blacks beyond Martin Luther King, blacks need to be given a chance to live, live well, and learn enough to meet the critical needs of our world. The book of Proverbs says, “There is a way that seems right to a man but in the end it leads to death.” Poor levels of education, unhealthy diets, and abortion may seem permissible for some, but these things are slowly leading to the death of black history.

Dr. Anthony Bradley, associate professor of theology at The King's College in New York City and a research fellow at the Acton Institute. Dr. Bradley holds Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from Clemson University, a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. As a research fellow, Dr. Bradley lectures at colleges, universities, business organizations, conferences, and churches throughout the U.S. and abroad.