I remember with great certainty that history class was by far the subject I truly disliked studying the most. Reason being, I never felt a connection with any of the stories I read in the provided textbooks. What was deemed by the school board as standard for teaching guidelines, left the students lacking and void of their history which is rich in culture and holds centuries of legacy.
James Baldwin stated, “I began to be bugged by the teaching of American history, because it seemed that history had been taught without cognizance of my presence.”
The thoughts of Baldwin would be echoed by many before and after him. Half a century earlier, when Carter G. Woodson, a scholar whose dedication to celebrating the historic contributions of Black people led to the establishment of Black History Month, set the foundation in 1976 for what would become today’s national Black History Month, observed each February.
History has said to have a bad habit of repeating itself. The good, the bad, and often times the ugly. Rewriting the past is impossible, however, helping shape the future is a task we are all faced with and should be concerned with. As times continue to pass me by, the importance of Black history is forever in my mind in hopes that it is never lost.
Knowledge is one of the keys to life, and with it comes a treasure far more precious than any rare gem you could ever find. As we enter into this month long celebration of Black history we are in no way shape or form saying that the other 11 months of the year shouldn’t reflect on the history lessons that are forever there, it is just giving our culture a special moment in time to celebrate and add to the legacies before and long after us.
There are many ways to celebrate Black History month and learn more about the culture, life and legacy of those past and present. A history lesson is not just taught in class, it extends far beyond into your home life, the work that is done in the community, and the ways you can help to continue adding to our rich history.
The more you get involved, the more you know. The more you understand, the more you are able to teach and share. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, it takes time and patience to truly educate yourself on the important facts of our culture. The beautiful thing about history is, once you know more about the past your eyes are now opened to the possibilities of the future. Keeping the stories alive, sharing our life experiences, learning more of our heritage, are all reasons this month is so important and will always be.
“With our future ahead of us and the ancestors beside us, THERE’S NOTHING WE CAN’T DO!”
"This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." -Neil Gaiman