Black History Month: The past, present and future of black history

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As time has come and time has gone every single year the country celebrates the month of February and call it Black History Month. As an African American child, I never gave it much thought that African Americans, and all races, should be celebrated all year, every year. However, in growing up and being exposed to more, my perspective has certainly come full circle. I’ve observed a variety of aspects in my culture and in the country, as a whole, that have given me pause and caused me to recollect the past, present and future of black history and Black History Month.

Emmitt Till

Ironically as I sit back and think of what to write about for this piece it dawned on me that things have changed, but are still very much the same. I recall watching a report on Emmett Till, a young African American boy that was killed in Mississippi at the age of 14, for no reason. In recent documents, it was discovered that the woman that gave false testimony in the trial that resulted in his killers being acquitted, recanted her story. The report brought to light the fact that 60 years ago this young boy was murdered by two white men for an innocent misunderstanding.

In present day the same murders are occurring left and right in our country. Have the statutes that our government outlined centuries ago and that black civil rights leaders fought so hard for, been dismissed or erased from history? I began to wonder what else we’ve lost along the way. I have always felt that the African American pioneers from the past forged the way for African Americans of today, but of all that has been afforded, what has been refused?

The divisions that have become prevalent in our country as a result of a cantankerous election have remained wide and unyielding. As a person that voted for Hillary Clinton, but who has continued to say that the message for the country is much bigger, it pains me to see that equality is being ignored and that people’s freedoms are being questioned. The parallels between Trump’s request to remove immigrants from the country and the removal of African Americans decades ago presents the realization that if we as people don’t acknowledge, learn, accept, grow and press on, that we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

The types of transgressions that I’ve seen people of this country going through, at the hands of our government in recent weeks, definitely makes me wonder if we’ve grown or if we’ve repeated a history that didn’t work before and doesn’t appear to be working now. Isn’t it time to let bygones be bygones?

Aspiration by Aaron Douglas

Civil Rights leaders worked long, tiresome hours to create equality for all people. They also worked to show us how to unify, how to see differences and accept them and how to stay strong through adversity. It is easy to lose sight of the goal to ensure equality, safety and everyone’s right to happiness and freedom when so many negative setbacks happen around all of us every day. This Black History month, I hope that people of all races will unite for the bigger cause; in reality there are far more important things going on in the country and worldwide that deserve our focus.

I once heard the saying that one should try to be the change that they want to see in the world. As times change I feel that it can only help us as people, African American, Caucasian and all other beautiful races by learning new things. A good starting place is to try to learn something new about another culture, a new activity and more.

When you don’t understand something or don’t agree with it, question it. There is nothing wrong with wanting to learn more and to do better by yourself and others.

Last but not least always know your worth as a human being. Race aside always know that you’re somebody, regardless of what people say, and know that you deserve the best and never accept anything less. Start inside yourself and the world will follow. Happy Black History Month and all Races Month all year!

Photos from Wikipedia
Top photo:Migration Series Panel by Jacob Lawrence