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