IN THE NOT SO DISTANT PAST
PLEASE PULL UP YOUR PANTS!
Sometime around the Christmas holidays, my inner sleeping giant re-awakens, happy to plan Kwanzaa, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Black History Month celebrations and commemorations. Celebrating the history of a hard-working, strong and proud people who not only demanded, but also gave respect to others – even when it was a difficult act. We demanded, but also gave respect to others, especially out in public places because in the not to distant past, Black people we unable to enter many of these public places, in particular, restaurants, department stores, hotels, libraries, churches, or even ride in the front of buses.
We were unable to worship in churches alongside with or become educated in schools alongside with our Caucasian brothers and sisters. Our ancestors fought tooth and nail to obtain and education. Not too long ago, in the not too distant past, eggs were thrown at Blacks as they attempted to enter the through doors of school houses, armed guards stood watch to ensure our safety as we demanded the right to enter into classrooms to learn – a hard-earned right and privilege that so many of us now take for granted.
In that not too distant past, many of our ancestors owned one or maybe two outfits to wear throughout the year and they wore those outfits proudly - pulled up on their buttocks – demanding and showing respect - even when it was a difficult act - because we were a hard-working, strong and proud people.
In that not too distant past, many of our ancestors braved fire-hoses, beatings with Billy-clubs, and growls of vicious dogs to earn the right to vote because we were a hard-working, strong and proud people who not only demanded but gave respect even when it was a difficult act.
Today, many of us neither demand, nor do we show respect. We show no respect to our ancestors who fought hard to earn the right to enter those places where it was against the law for us to enter, to wear our clothing proudly, pulled up over our buttock and show the world that if we respect ourselves, we have certainly earned the right to demand respect from others. We can show respect to our ancestors and demand respect from others by availing ourselves to the opportunities to educate ourselves and to receive an education because in the not to distant past, much blood was shed to earn that right.
We can show respect to our ancestors and demand respect from others by exercising our right to vote in each and every election for each and every office because in the not to distant past, much blood was shed to earn that right.
During Black History Month, and during the other eleven months of the year, let us not only remember, but honor our ancestors who demanded and gave respect because in the not too distant past, we were a hard-working, strong and proud people who shed much blood to earn the rights that many of us take for granted today.
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