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