You know, for the longest time I never knew black people in America had a history. “Back in my day” [I can’t believe I’m saying that] they didn’t teach anything at all about black history. There was a little paragraph that said your ancestors were slaves, accompanied by a picture of slaves working in a field. Then we learned about Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks and that was it. I get that people don’t like to talk about slavery but that sent the message that there was No history for blacks. That other than silent workers who never contributed anything meaningful there were only two people in all of black culture who ever did anything of value and that was many years later.
.Not much of a history lesson. It sent a message that black people never mattered. And that Only white people Did matter. Both blacks and whites received this message.
There is an ancient proverb: Until the Lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter.
Yes, one way Dominant groups inscribe power is by means of the historical record. It’s all Right, such is human nature. Promote thy self and minimize the accomplishments of others.
But now that I was older I decided to investigate myself. And what I discovered gave me a whole new Appreciation for black culture.
You see, contrary to what I was led to believe, black people have a rich, exciting history in this country that is just like any other culture’s history. I don’t mean that every culture had their culture and identities stripped away, but I do mean we have a very rich and colorful history in this country that speaks to our wonderful humanity. Determination, desire, struggles, hopes, highs, lows, love, war, passion, creativity, self expression, teamwork, invention, and inevitably the triumph of the human spirit. Every history book speaks to people being oppressed in various ways and how they always fight back to gain their freedom. From high taxes to strict rules to excessively long work hours to oppressive governments – the injustices abound within history books. Yet, people always find their way back to freedom. ALWAYS.
BLACK HISTORY IS NO DIFFERENT.
In the coming weeks, I’m going to share some highlights that Really resonated with me.
And I hope they resonate with you, too.
Black history does not have to be an “us versus them” mentality, always the victim and never the Victor. But it does tell a very human story, One that we can embrace with adoration, love and respect.