In observance of the looming onslaught of Black History month that will be shortly upon us, I wanted to exorcise the dislike for the recollection and barrage of the same footage cram packed into twenty-eight days; which is one of my disdains for the upcoming calendar month.
A martyr’s death gets an “Honorable Mention”. Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X and many countless and unnamed individuals came before us and paved the way for where we are now; which is indeed far better than they could have ever imagined for themselves. They fought hard and many had their lives cut-off early – and taken before they could see the fruition of all of their hard work and dedication of selflessness. So, I don’t want anyone to think that I take for granted or have minimized the strides that I am able to take from their sacrifice.
From witnessing the life of the common black person from a common black persons view in which I am ever so privy to – many have bought into what society says that we are and what we are capable of achieving. And it surely won’t be corrected anytime soon by simply cramming 400 years into 28 days give or take someone chooses to catch a CBS special on the Civil War directed by Ken Burns.
Before you start renting your clothes, covering yourselves in sackcloth and ashes, please hear me out. If our history was taught daily in class, the same as “American History”, we would educate others. If young White, Hispanic and other nationalities were introduced to us as a people and not us people who were once slaves, their entire take on who we are wouldn’t be as askew and eventually over time they we would be a normal part of history as the The Nina, The Pinta and the Santa Maria. Sadly our kids know more about Captain John Smith and Pocahontas rendezvous than they do The Middle Passage. Therein lays the gap between the slaves and who we are as a people today. We have both learned and been bombarded with their history and ours have been a footnote as the pages of our history turn. Others simply just don’t know us nor do they care because we don’t care to know who we are – We just want to fit in but we cannot fit in where we think subconsciously that we don’t belong; and where others think that we can’t belong. They are not comfortable around us because we aren’t comfortable around ourselves, and for lack of knowledge the people perish.
Our history is woven into the tapestry of America, if you flip it over and view it from the back. You will be able to see all the embroidery and stitching that it took to create such a masterpiece; the time, ability, perseverance, blood, sweat and sheer will of God seeing us through. However, no one wants to look at the true craftsmanship – they just want to display the front and the intricate artwork, but it just didn’t come by happenstance, though many would want us to fall for that trick of the devil.
I often wonder why God would call the greats home to be with him and leave us with a Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. Not to diminish anything that they have done but truth be told – they are not the Martyrs who changed the climate from cold to warm on our behalf.
We need a complete overhaul of the education system as it pertains to us. Textbooks are being updated and new editions being created all the time. If we are really ready to be integrated into a society that has been stand-offish and downright frightened, then I would highly suggest we find and start lobbyist support for the textbooks to be revamped. We know about Thomas Edison but hardly anything about Vivien Thomas. Blacks, African Americans, Negroes and even slaves were essential and still are to the life that we all live today. We must be added to the pages of history in order to be included in history, not just be relegated to their history and “Oh we had some slaves for about 400 years out of our great history, but that didn’t really matter or made a difference in the country that we have become.
America’s story is extraordinarily great but our story is just as impressive because we couldn’t leave in pursuit of a better life and freedom of religion as others did when leaving England. We didn’t have that type of leverage, leeway or latitude – No Sir! – We had to get our freedom from the gristle and man-up. Now that is some power, tenacity, endurance and faith; and what folk don’t want us to know.
If our history was taught daily we wouldn’t have the inherent need to draw sympathizes or empathizers but a people and a culture that understand exactly who we are and be amazed at how much we shaped the world – in spite of. Sort of like how we are taught “American History” and fight daily within ourselves that black lives matter.
My people and moreover – my God existed long before any people were enslaved. We weren’t the first nor shall we be the last.
Stories of Selma, The Butler and Glory should be told but after educating everyone on the facts from an educational standpoint in order to keep everyone honest and actively participating in making a better America. Then people wouldn’t feel made to watch movies out of obligation or apologetically but because they want to see a fact that they have read about being reenacted on the silver-screen – they would want to go.
Our people have no connection and no relation to the plights and perils suffered because we have only received snippets and movie trailers of who we are as a people. We as blacks only get “Honorable Mention” when in actuality we are the story-line. If others read and learned about us daily they wouldn’t fear us, our color, our differences, our culture, our kids or our past – and our future.
People fear the unknown and no one really knows who we are as “Black America”. Black America is Black History.