Morgan Freeman Says Black History Month Is An Insult

Morgan Freeman revealed he finds the concept of Black History Month reductive and insulting because it seeks to encapsulate history in too small of a space.

By Zack Zagranis | Updated

morgan freeman

Morgan Freeman has one of the most distinct voices in cinema, and lately, the actor is using that voice to espouse some hot takes. As The Times UK reports, Freeman is not a fan of either Black History Month or the term African-American. The 85-year-old Shawshank Redemption actor finds both concepts distasteful and insulting.

Morgan Freeman told The Times “Black History Month is an insult.” before continuing with, “You’re going to relegate my history to a month?” The actor also said the same of “African American,” declaring, “I don’t subscribe to that title.” Freeman compared the term African American to various other names non-POC have given to black people over the years, including the N-word.

Freeman challenged the meaning of the phrase by pointing out that many black people in the West were of mixed heritage or “mongrels,” as he so bluntly put it. This isn’t the first time Morgan Freeman has come out against Black History Month, either. Two years ago, the actor gave an interview with 60 Minutes where he expressed the same sentiment with slightly different words.

“It makes no more sense to have a Black History Month than to have a Jewish History Month,” the A Good Person star told Mike Wallace in 2021. Freeman pointed out that Black History was American History and should be taught all year and not just during a designated “Black History Month.”

Black History Month is the successor to Negro History Week, first created in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson. The week was expanded to a month in 1970. Morgan Freeman isn’t the only person to express distaste for the concept of Black History Month.

Since its inception, Black History Month has been a polarizing concept. From the beginning, many educators questioned if it was appropriate to confine the celebration of Black history to a single month rather than integrate more lessons about Black culture and heritage throughout the whole school year. There are those that also worried that having a designated Black History Month might encourage educators in certain parts of the country to confine all their lessons involving Blacks to February only.

Despite Morgan Freeman condemning Black History Month and the term African-American, the actor did tell the Times he thinks some things are moving in the right direction culturally. Freeman specifically named the increase in LGBTQ representation and interracial relationships onscreen as proof that we are making progress as a society. The actor considers the rise in black and Asian performances in Hollywood proof that “Generationally,” society is moving ahead in “leaps and bounds.”

Race wasn’t the only thing on the actor’s mind recently. Morgan Freeman did take a moment out of his tirade against Black History Month to discuss how he chooses his roles at the age of 85. The actor has earned the right to be picky about what acting gigs he accepts and expressed as much to The UK Times, saying that he pretty much does whatever sparks his interest, like the upcoming Muhammad Ali series for Peacock.

Freeman also admitted that sometimes money was the sole determining factor in whether he takes a job or not.

Ultimately Morgan Freeman’s take on Black History Month, whether you agree with him or not, presents a fascinating look into the perspective of an elder Black man that has lived through both the Civil Rights movement and the first Black presidency.