Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why we should not Celebrate African American History Month



As we wrap up African American History Month, I am reminded of my collectables. I have three categories: Before, During, and After.

Before
My Before collection is of beautiful African ladies. They are dressed in vibrant, feminine dresses, and their hair is braided and adorned with beads. 

They are a spark to my imagination—thoughts of a time when my ancestors were carefree, going about their daily business of buying and selling and caring for their families.

During
My During collection is of slaves. Although some artists depicted African American slaves in less than flattering ways, I am drawn to them. 

They are beautiful to me. They represent my great-great grandparents and my great-great aunts and uncles, so I give them a home in my home. Their black skin and tightly coiled hair are a part of who I am. I treasure them.

After
My After collection is of African American survivors: scholars, musicians, and families. This one reminds me of Marva Collins, an educator who uncovered a mystery and was willing to solve it. 

Marva realized African American children, particularly in low income areas, needed more than books and a teacher. They needed someone who was willing to set high expectations for them; willing to believe they could achieve these expectations; and willing to teach students, not subject matter.

My Before, During, and After collectables remind me of the struggles Africans and African Americans have endured over the centuries. This rich history must be rooted and grounded in the hearts of African Americans. It must become a renewable resource, available for the taking whenever we need it. When we are faced with challenges, we need to think about those who faced an even tougher challenge and survived and flourished: Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth , George Washington Carver, and so many more. Doing so will inspire an I know I can do it attitude. Thinking about great achievements of African Americans once a month is not enough. The great achievements of our ancestors must become our daily cherished thoughts.


What part of your history inspires you? This is the story in you. Share it. 


Domonique 


Connect with me on Pinterest to view creative ideas about writing:
  • Why should you write?
  • How should you write?
  • The quirks of writing
  • When should you write?
  • What is writing?
  • What is a writer?
  • In what should you write?


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Why we should not Celebrate African American History Month

We should not celebrate African American History Month in February. We should celebrate African American History every day. The high school I went to—Cass Technical High—offered Black history classes, and I took them to sort of figure things out. During my childhood and teenage years, race relations were a conundrum to me. I did not understand the why behind slavery, Jim Crow, and inequality. Over 30 years have passed, and these events remain a conundrum to me.

What has also remained was what I learned from the Black history classes I took: pride, confidence, and fortitude. This has helped me maintain an I know I can do it attitude. Even today, whenever I feel challenged, I think of the trail blazers who went before me.

Maya Angelou was one of those trail blazers. 

(Oprah's Master Class - OWN, May 28, 2014)

Maya had a less than stellar childhood. After being abused, she vowed she would not speak and lived in silence for a number of years. Maya’s mother gave her to her grandmother, and it was there that her grandmother and a teacher whispered hope into her spirit. Maya’s silence did not preclude her from becoming one of the greatest civil rights activists, educators, and writers. Now her words whisper hope into the spirit of those who will listen. Void of bitterness, her words are honest, true, and achievable. And they inspire me every time I read them, hear them, and speak them.

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” (Angelou, from Brainyquote).

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude” (Angelou, from Brainyquote).

“A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song” (Angelou, from Brainyquote).

African American history must be rooted and grounded in the hearts of African Americans. It must become a renewable resource, available for the taking whenever we need it. When we are faced with challenges, we need to think about those who faced an even tougher challenge and survived and flourished. Doing so will inspire an I know I can do it attitude. Thinking about great achievements of African Americans once a month is not enough.


What part of your history inspires you? This is the story in you. Share it. 


Domonique 


Connect with me on Pinterest to view creative ideas about writing:

  • Why should you write?
  • How should you write?
  • The quirks of writing
  • When should you write?
  • What is writing?
  • What is a writer?
  • In what should you write?


References
Brainy Quotes. (2001-2015). Brainy Quote > Maya Angelou. Retrieved from brainyquote.com

Goodreads Incorporated. (2015). Goodreads > Maya Angelou. Retrieved from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes

OWNTV. (May 28, 2014). Oprah’s Master Class – OWN. Dr. Maya Angelou’s 3-word secret to living your best life. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr6LMr-rXEc

Monday, February 9, 2015

Why we should not Celebrate African American History Month



We should not celebrate African American History Month in February. We should celebrate African American History every day because of the powerful reserve it deposits in African Americans. 

The high school I went to—Cass Technical High—offered Black history classes, and I took them to sort of figure things out. During my childhood and teenage years, race relations were a conundrum to me. I did not understand the why behind slavery, Jim Crow, and prejudice in general. Over 30 years have passed since I was in high school, and these topics remain a conundrum to me.

What has remained in me was what I learned from the Black history classes I took: pride, confidence, and fortitude. This has helped me maintain an I know I can do it attitude. Even today, whenever I feel challenged, I think of the trail blazers who went before me.

Frederick Douglas was one of those trail blazers. 

(BIO, January 26, 2010)

He was born into slavery, but he never had a slave mentality. He knew he should be free. Although it was against the law for a slave to learn how to read and write, Frederick learned from multiple people, even exchanging food for a lesson. During his years as a slave, Frederick made many attempts to escape from slavery, and when he finally succeeded, he became an abolitionist. He fought not only for equal rights for slaves but also for women. He wrote about his experiences as a slave in multiple autobiographies, one of which was Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.

African American history must be rooted and grounded in the hearts of African Americans. It must become a renewable resource, available for the taking whenever we need it. When we are faced with challenges, we need to think about those who faced even tougher challenges and survived and triumphed. Doing so will inspire an I know I can do it attitude. Thinking about great achievements of African Americans once a month is not enough.

What part of your history inspires you? This is the story in you. Share it. 



Domonique 


Connect with me on Pinterest to view creative ideas about writing:

  • Why should you write?
  • How should you write?
  • The quirks of writing
  • When should you write?
  • What is writing?
  • What is a writer?
  • In what should you write?


Reference

BIO. (January 26, 2010). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Su-4JBEIhXY