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