Still, this doesn't mean that I can't tap into my inner Holmes and try to connect a few dots myself. For instance, recently I was able to locate an African American newspaper that was established in the early 1900's in the town my grandmother lived in as a child. I won't go into details concerning my family's history. We're all mature enough to understand the implications of having been an African American during those times. To sum it up, it's sad.
Although own personal family history is something I may never fully know, the history of my people as a whole is something I can definitely learn and pass on to my own daughter. Growing up all over the world has given me an interesting perspective on how Black history is taught throughout various schools. In some schools, it is only briefly mentioned, and then quickly shoved aside, like that one Uncle that always makes inappropriate jokes. In others, it is studied quite extensively.
I understand it can be an uncomfortable topic for many. I suppose in some ways people expect that simply mentioning slavery will cause anger and shame. I don't blame people today for what happened then, just as you shouldn't feel shame for what beliefs your ancestors may have held more than 100 years ago. I will, however, place blame if those same beliefs continue to poison the minds of today and the history of the generations before us is blatantly ignored because people feel that it does not apply to them. That is not just a problem, it is THE problem. As the saying goes, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.
I also know there are a lot of black people who aren't exactly fond of celebrating black history month, and I understand the hesitation. We shouldn't be relegated to just one month; it should be something that we take pride in and celebrate daily. Who knows where we would be today if not for those amazing, self-less leaders and entrepreneurs? The way I see it, they fought for us, now it's time for us to fight for them and keep their memories, their dreams, their beliefs alive. If I have to fight tooth and nail for one month for that recognition, then I will continue to do so until people understand that Black history is a part of American history and begin to incorporate that into our schools.
In the end we're all fighting for the same thing, respect, understanding and an acknowledgement of the great leaders that paved the way for us. So this month, I'm not waiting for you guys to celebrate it on your own; no I'm bringing the celebration to you. I've set aside a few goals and activities this month that I'd like to share with you. I encourage you all to take a bit of time out this month to come up with a few activities on your own that you'd like to participate in with your families.
For the month of February I'd like to...
- Share at least two posts with you guys about two influential African Americans that have contributed greatly to this beautiful country and yet we don't hear much about.
- Read The Blacker the Berry
- Watch Roots (again, it's been a while)
- Listen to the full I Have a Dream speech, and read it to Jasmine.
- Buy a few children's books about Black History to read to Jasmine.
- Cook at least one classic African dish
As the month progresses, I'm sure I'll find other ways to get involved. I encourage you all to do the same. Black History Month should not be celebrated exclusively by African Americans. Don't let the fact that you feel uncomfortable dissuade you from learning more about this beautiful country and the men and women who have paved the way for ALL of us. I'm hopeful that in my lifetime I will be able to witness, not a celebration of Black history, but a celebration of a completed American History.
"We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice." --Carter Woodson
Happy History Month
Photo cred 1) Tallblondestyle.com