Black History Month Celebration - February 2011
Black History Month - 2010 by pmccray
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You may write me down in history With your bitter, twisted lies, You may trod me in the very dirt, But still, like dust, I'll rise - Maya Angelou
Yes, I know these comments drip like venom from the lips of the ignorant, but it really stuck in my craw and got me to thinking; the young have never really been taught the meaning of this annual celebration.
It is done to ensure that Afro-American accomplishments and contributions in the settlement and growth of this nation are not forgotten or hidden as in the past. We proudly show that our ancestors were not mere slaves, work horses for the massa, human chattel, but flesh and blood human beings capable of thought and reason, even in the most trying times, contrary to popular belief.
As a child, growing up in the 50s, my mirror of American History was George Washington Carver, Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass, that's it. Orientals and Blacks help lay the rail in this country and the poor American Indians, our nation's first people, were butchered and pushed aside in the name of progress.
The African was brought into this foreign land as a hostage, stripped of humanity, dignity, family, name, heritage and degraded. Forbidden to speak our own language, practice our traditions, or obtain an education, which was punishable by death. So now, in modern day America, we seek to celebrate the only life we know which is in this nation. We are a strong people, and will not be swept aside as if invisible.
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise, I rise, I rise - Maya Angelou
Black History Month at Amazon
Until the Lions Have Their Historians, Tales of the Hunt Shall Always Glorify the Hunter - African Proverb
Webster's Dictionary defines history - 1. knowledge, study , or record of past events. 2. pattern of events determining the future.
Historic events of the past have been either verbal or written accounts of events that changed the course of history for the good and bad. In the past the authors of these events had the extraordinary opportunity to embellish or omit data at will. This was done in an effort to fulfill certain agendas be they political or personal.
In 1912 the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) was formed. Black history month was started in 1915, in Chicago. Black scholars of the time compiled and researched data on the contributions of Afro-Americans to the United States. One of these researchers, Carter G. Woodson, hoped that the publication of this historical data would bridge the gap between the races. Thinking that the information would dispel the lies and stereotypes if more was known about the achievements of persons of African decent.
This work became a life long quest for Woodson. In February of 1926 he sent out press releases regarding Negro History Week. It is commonly thought that February was chosen because of the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass both prominent fighters in the freedom of slaves.
The 60s brought on a new and enthusiastic interest in Negro History Week and before the end of the decade February became Black History Month. Which begs me to question; this historic information had been around well before the 50s, and yet was unavailable for young Blacks. What a difference it would have made, in so many, helping to elevate our self esteem. This is the costly impact of omission.
The white man's happiness cannot be purchased by the black man's misery - Frederick Douglass
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