STUDY THE STALLS OF A SEMINARY BATHROOM and chances are you will find the following scrawled out in ballpoint: “Nietzsche: God is Dead. God: Nietzsche is dead.” The quip relies on a misreading—God, for Nietzsche, did not die like your grandmother or pet turtle might die. God died like a language might die. In a secular world, belief becomes unbelievable. But the bathroom graffiti retains a bit of truth. Nietzsche, writing in 1882, recognized the collapse of religion. Today, the situation has changed: God is undead.
IN 1926, HISTORIAN CARTER WOODSON inaugurated “Negro History Week.” Negro History Week bred Black History Month, and Black History Month bred the many diverse “Heritage” months of our American calendar: Women’s History Month, Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and American Indian Heritage Month, to pick just a few. But along the way, the justification for studying history changed.