It’s Black History Month in the United States. Why do we do this?
Well, in my humble and definitely unscholarly opinion, it’s important to have this annual month to learn about and reflect on Black history that was obscured or never documented at all. The fabric of our American culture is like a puzzle with pieces missing if we don’t have an understanding of our entire history.
How did we get to where we are today?
What forms the basis of some of our ingrained thinking?
What exists only in the collective memory of our Black population because it was never put into the history books or taught in the schools?
Our history is incomplete if we fail to reflect huge chunks of it that were suppressed because of racial discrimination – and therefore, our understanding of ourselves as a whole population is incomplete.
On a personal level, I am seeking greater understanding and empathy and to learn how to be a better ally to my Black friends and the Black community / People of Color as a whole. But I can never walk in someone’s shoes unless I have an understanding of the path that brought them to where they are, right?
There’s where Black History Month helps.
And, while this might sound awkward, I feel that American Black history is also my history, in the sense that it happened in my land to my fellow citizens. I want to know what I’m missing.
Woody Guthrie sang, “This land is your land, this land is my land”. It was “made for you and me”, right? Well, it can only be OUR land, made for ALL of the you and me’s out there, if we tell and honor the stories of all, if we “lift every voice and sing,” not just some of the voices.
We can only be whole if we look at the whole picture. Otherwise, we’ve whitewashed (double entendre very much intended) our past.
So, I’m celebrating Black History Month to learn and grow.
© Glover Gardens, 2022
7 thoughts on “Black History Month: Why It’s Important (in my humble opinion)”
So, what are you actually doing?
Great question! Short answer: not enough. Longer, with more detail: I serve as a committee member in a group called BOLD, Black Organization fir Leadership & Development, at work. I am a co-chair for Communications and am learning so much from my Black colleagues. We have an exhibit at work coming up in which we are bringing items that illustrate Black history in ways that are meaningful to each of us (board members) and I will be bringing some of my books, like the ones on Langston Hughes, Gordon Banks, and the history of Juneteenth. Another incredible source of learning which might seem trivial but has really opened my eyes is following #BLM on Instagram, along with other inspiring Black accounts. I’m doing some special research into Black food, aligned with my hobby of cooking, aided by a book I got hit Christmas from my son called Black Food. It is a GREAT book! More to come on all of that. Probably the most important thing is the combination of research, curiosity and listening. I don’t know what I don’t know, but I can keep learning if I keep asking.
Edit your post and put that in it. Go to a real neighborhood second line. You’ll learn more than you could anywhere else. Black Food? I’ll give you some soul food restaurants in NOLA. Just don’t get shot or I’ll feel guilty.
No need to edit the post, the info is now here in the comments thanks to your question. 😊 Plus, those are the subjects of future posts.
I’d love to go to a real second line – can I shadow you and learn from a pro? And, your restaurant tips have been great so far, keep ’em coming!!!
I’ll ask nojo to take you. I can’t be in those crowds. She knows her way around.
Quite agree – ditto women’s history, which is next month (here in the U.K. anyway, don’t know if it’s universal).
Yes! You know, I usually don’t know it’s International Womens’ Day until someone from the UK sends me a nice message that I see in my inbox when the US morning rolls around. We don’t really emphasize that here, but it is definitely important to understand and celebrate (or learn from) ALL history. You do a great job with womens’ history in your blog.