Black History Month
As Black History Month closes, I wanted to share a view thought. A single month could or will never do justice to the African American Experience. Black History Month is about celebration. Much of our collective history is often characterized by the oppression (which is true) that continues, even today. We must focus on the celebration, the remarkable, resilient nature that transcends oppression and amplifies the amazing inventions, accomplishments, and successes contributed to the America fiber.We went from being the slaves that built the White House, to the Butlers and Maids who served all our Presidents, to being the 44th President of the United States. That’s an epic journey, considering we were forced, against our will, to build the country we all love. Our story is different because we did not come through Ellis Island via steam ships. We came via the Middle Passage on slave ships.
Here is my challenge to Black families.
As a family, let your conversations and interactions convey and support the value of hard work. Let your children know that much of Black history has been about the triumph of the human spirit, a spirit that allows people to believe in their worth and dignity. As parents, you are to model the importance of education, while taking responsibility for your children’s learning. As a student of Black history, you must explain to your children those times you had to score the proverbial 110% just to be considered for certain opportunities. Now, if you aren’t sure what I mean by this, just ask your elders.
Undoubtedly, the more you learn about the history, achievements, and contributions of our ancestors, the more you will come to appreciate the power of dreams. We all have dreams, and the dream of one man changed the way the nation viewed Black Americans and how Black Americans viewed themselves. This man, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, the father of the study of Black history, wanted to use knowledge about the black past, not only to instill pride in Black American heritage, but he also sought to inspire Blacks to dream and strive for excellence. In the words of Dr. Woodson, “We are going back to that beautiful history and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements.”So, on this last weekend of Black History Month, and for all those times you refer to our history to motivate and inspire your children and youth, please keep in mind the Black family must continue to “chart a course forward for present and future generations to make history,” while encouraging the children to embrace the habit of hard work and a deeper appreciation for learning. The community at large should encourage partnerships between parents and schools as a good place to build a cultural network of connections. This would be especially affecting in the early grades, building a cultural connection that would continue and be ongoing throughout the school years.Ultimately, the shared goal must be one that supports the notion that each student should have an equal chance growing up into adulthood and having the opportunity “to live a life of dignity, good health, economic opportunity and purpose.”