We have come to the end of Black History Month and for it to symbolize two historically momentous occasions; the 150th and 50th anniversaries of the emancipation proclamation and March on Washington there seemed to be very little media fanfare. And while some of us devote considerable attention to the celebration of our history on a regular basis, this show in particular with the little know black history fact, many of us don’t make it a priority at all.
Carter G. Woodson created Negro History week in 1926, not to box-in when we celebrated our history, but to elevate a period of celebration. The caveat to that was it required us to actually study enough history outside of the celebration to continuously share during it. People complain, and I am one of them, that as a community we consistently celebrate the same 7 or so figures from 2 periods in our infinite history. Slavery and Civil Rights heroes and sheroes who DID make our community and the world better, but even they have been watered down to sound bites, speech quotes, and t-shirts. From the beginning of time to yesterday gives us a brilliant opportunity to talk about our history from civilization development to sports. Lets dive into all of it.
So as we move out of this February, I would ask that we spend the next 11 months doing what Woodson and others did when it WAS NOT black history month. STUDY BLACK HISTORY. And here are a few easy ways to do that in our own homes.
1. Find 1 Black History focused or related site to add to your daily on-line media consumption. Here’s a list of recommended sites – http://www.besthistorysites.net/index.php/american-history/african-american
2. If you have a family, once a month do a “Who Am I” Dinner where each family member does an introduction of a figure in black history and the others have to guess who it is.
3. Once a month when you watch a movie, make it a documentary about ANY aspect of your history
4. Chapter of the month – if a whole boo a month is too much, read a chapter a month, individually, or as a family of a book related to a period or person.
5. Your Family Story – During the next family reunion, holiday, or gathering, charge the kids in the family to use their camera phones to interview the 5 oldest members of the family, and put together your own family story.
6. Become black history as you live out your best life. Remember God blessed you not just to learn history but to make it.
If you do this once a month for the next 11 months, how much more will we each has to offer, share, and celebrate next February? One day we may have studied and shared enough to not need a special Black History Month…. but we are not quite there yet.