I’ve taken on many different emotions when it comes to celebrating black history month growing up. In grade school I Loved it because that’s when I first got exposed to the strength, courage, and just overall radiance of black people. (that’s when I learned about Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Fredrick Douglas, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, etc.) The schools I attended would have plays, posters ALLL around the school, and special guest come in and speak to us about the greatness of our skin tone and I would literally be in tears because I was so moved. ( especially since I was a dark skin girl growing up with “nappy hair” the only time I REALLY appreciated my blackness was during BHM……so when March rolled around well you know all the posters came down and life went on)
In middle school it was the same thing but now in class the history lessons were a little more detailed depending on the teacher. Some stuck to the book work and average curriculum (I learned about Maya Angelou, Garrett Morgan, and Chuck Barry) while others got more detailed (I learned about Grace Wisher, Josephine Silone Yates, and Amiri Baraka) So when Black History Month rolled around now I still had the same appreciation for the posters, plays, etc but now I wondered why the books only talked about the same ones. Are the others not as important? Did only certain teachers know about them?
About time high school rolled around I was over it. I was pissed Black History only got 1 month (I went on the same rant that it was the shortest month and how black people accomplished so much more than what they were teaching us) I asked every teacher why we always had to start with the enslaved of black people and why we spend soooo much time talking about the torture they faced during the Civil Rights Movement that ended with our leaders assassinated (Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Black Panther Leaders, etc. but I had A LOT of attitude so the conversations never ended well I always got put out of class) I thought the posters of black leaders was unless to put up, just to take right back down, and the teachers really didn’t care they just did it because they had to. (AGAIN High School was ROUGH)
Now as an adult I love it again and have a WHOLE NEW appreciation for the month because… 1. I can appreciate and witness the black excellence of those before me and how they really did pave the way. Also, those who are breaking down barriers today. 2. I’m STILL learning new stuff about the culture from new activists, movements, and black entrepreneurs, 3. Because I realized that I’ve now in a position to educate. I’m not a teacher but I do have nieces, nephews, and little cousins who are old enough to start learning about the leaders that I know the schools don’t talk about. In adulthood I learned how important it is to continue the education at home and make them aware of how powerful their blackness is. Also social media,the internet, and tv shows play a significant role because everything is so accessible. From Netflix shows like Killer Mike’s Trigger Warning,and Hip Hop Evolution. There’s even podcast now that offer information about Black History like The African History Network Show, and KUT: In Black America
So I say all of that to say this Black History is being Created Everyday and there’s so much to learn EVERY living SECOND that one month obviously isn’t enough time to learn it all. But it’s such and important month because you can take the time out to teach the next generation something because the country carries a whole new energy honoring African Americans. I also want to S/O the educators, parents, etc that goes above and beyond during Black History Month and the Black History they teach in the book.
Happy Birthday Travyon Martin (February 5th) , Rosa Parks (February 4th), and R.I.P Kobe and Gianna Bryant (January 26th)
Happy Black History Month