Thursday, February 26, 2015

Published 8:00 AM by with 1 comment

Black History 2015

Black history 2015 | Yes, We Rise

During Black history month, we like to trot out the familiar names and faces for 28 days. Meanwhile, some people wish that Black history would fade back into the shadows. The fact is Africans have been a part of the American History even before there was officially an America. Few people know the names of Juan Garrido, a free Black who came with the Spanish in 1513 or Estaban the Moor, who would end up walking across Texas in 1535 (after losing most of his expedition). Or of the Freed Black of Fort Mose Settled near St/ Augustine, Florida the first community settled by Freed Blacks in the New World and their leader Francisco Menendez who defended the fort in the early 1700’s against the British.

The interesting thing about history is that it happens and the more that it is altered the more it seems to correct itself as time passes. Most of the country is ignorant of the contributions of African-Americans because we are taught that slavery and a few abolitionists were all we really contributed to  American history until the 20th century. We, in essence, just lurked in the shadows, popping in and out of history at the discretion of editors of a history text.

No mention of the actions of Blacks in the revolutionary armies; how the West was settled with the help of African Americans; the fact that Jim, Lewis and Clark’s slave that accompanied them, also saved their lives. Sadly, the very slaves that were brought to the Carolinas during the colonial period sealed their fate by showing the colonists how to grow rice! Many of the farming technics that were used to grow unfamiliar crops (crops brought back to the Americas) were perfected by the slaves in the field. I found it interesting that I remember learning about John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed) but didn’t learn about African farm innovations in the Americas until I did the research.

We are much more than the 28 days in February. Which was chosen because President Lincoln and Frederick Douglass had birthdays that fell within a week of each other. It was originally Black History week too. Not because it was the shortest month of the year. We owe thanks to Dr. Carter G. Woodson for this month dedicated to our history.

We need to celebrate ourselves 24/7/365. We are just as important as any of the other threads that make up the American tapestry. We have lived, worked and died helping to make this country what it is. Although the investment made by our ancestors will probably never be repaid financially, we owe them a debt. We are charged with telling their stories and making sure that we do the best that we can to make sure that their sacrifices weren’t in vain.

The only way that you can guarantee that they won’t be forgotten is through educating people about the contributions of Black Americans to the nation. It is up to us to make sure that everyone knows that many hands helped mold this country. The Whitewashing of history seems to have picked up pace, as very shortsighted but influential people want the world to think that we are a monocultural society.

Links for more information:

** Dr. Headley White **

1 comment:

  1. Here Here
    My grandfather was a pioneer in Optometry, he and his colleagues started their own association which is still around today. Just to name a few things he did.