14 Feb I Am Here For Black History Month!
Black History Month. I am here for it!!!
Let’s be clear, I think celebrating Blackness is a 365 day of the year kind of thing. That said, I am not sure that everyone truly understands the importance and critical significance of this AMAZING month. Has Black History month been regulated to an obscure historical artifact that America dusts off when the guests are coming, and then quickly forgets until the next annual visit? Nah, I am not here for that. It is celebrated on a international-ish scale, and yes, a month is devoted to it, but so much of Black History is still not known to the masses. There are, quite literally, a plethora of amazing Black People contributors to the world beyond the approximately 3-5 typical figures mentioned when giving a shout out to the month, you may hear , “Heeey, it’s Black History Month!” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, and if you’re lucky, Madam C.J. Walker), and they each are dope, I mean they are the bomb.com. But for “some reason”, the list often stops with these few folks. I do not have enough room in this post to list all of the many contributions. To be honest, I am still discovering things and that is awesome! .
Well, some have taken the position that Black History is not their history, so it bears no direct importance to them. But it is, in actuality, OUR history. The foundation of America was literally built on the backs of Black People, 400 years of chattel slavery and at least 3 wars, IJS. Black folks were undoubtedly exploited and sacrificed consistently. When historian Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History nominated the second week of February to be Negro History Week (to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass), he effectively initiated a new conversation centering Black folks in America, and subsequently, in the world.
To define blackness in America based on our oppression, based on slavery, is a gross reduction of our entire existence. Our history as Black people did not begin and end with slavery. Please be clear, slaves were not stolen from Africa. Doctors, teachers, engineers, healers, agriculturalist, mothers, fathers and birth workers were taken and enslaved. They were not slaves they were human beings.
There are Black people across the diaspora, whose experiences we now get to lift up and must celebrate as huge milestones in the fight against anti-blackness. I speak their names: Dr. Moya Bailey, who coined the term “misogynoir”, and Dr. Nellie Louise Young, the first licensed African American female physician of Maryland who founded a Planned Parenthood clinic, can be recognized. So that our collective excellence can be cemented, and celebrated, and repeated. It is clear that as Black people we like all people have multiple and intersecting identities, and we approach liberation and social justice as beyond a single issues.
This month, and moving forward, let’s remember the words of Carter G. Woodson:
“If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated”.
Again, I am here for Black History Month and for celebrating Blackness all year long All BLACK LIVES MATTER!!!!!!!