Happy Black History Month My Loves!
Growing up celebrating the richness of our history wasn't something that was confined to solely to the month of February. Grandma was very proactive about making sure that we celebrated Black history year round. From requiring us all to participate in our schools' yearly History Day competitions to checking out movies with mainly Black casts and keeping our bookshelves stocked with biographies and memoirs like Narrative of Sojourner Truth, she made she we were raised to appreciate our culture.
Like Grandma, I've adopted the tradition of celebrating our Black history year round as well for the following reasons:
"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope."
~ Romans 15:4
Throughout the Bible there are many passages that warn about the danger of not knowing one's history. There are even more passages that encourage the older generation to pass down the stories of their family's history to their children while stressing the importance that their children then pass those same messages and history lessons down to the next generation to come and so forth. Knowing where our people came from gives us hope! As each generation has improved, the next one has become more hopeful.
And when we have hope, we have faith. Therefore each generation is essentially becoming more faithful because they're hearing (and even witnessing at times) of just how far God has guided and elevated us. Always let our history give you hope and faith that you can not only endure all things, but also rise above things like racism and glass ceilings.
"Have a vision. Be demanding.
~ Colin Powell
How can you have vision for your future if you don't know where our people have been? What we've been through? And how can you demand better for your life when you don't a vision of where you're going or where you want to be?
Knowing where we come from inspires us to envision the places we want to go next. Those visions create direction. Direction then creates demand because in order to get where we're going we'll have to pass out orders along the way and demands of people. Demands like respect, equality and more.
"Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face."
~ Carol Moseley-Braun
Unfortunately we live in a world where we as Blacks are frequently defined by stereotypes/misconceptions created by non-Blacks. It's so frustrating at times. However, I know and celebrate where I come from and define myself! It's easy to believe and buy into other people's opinions of what your culture and history are when you don't know it yourself. Trust me when I say that knowledge gives you the power to define yourself.
Because we weren't content with being just known as slaves, we discovered that we were and still are kings and queens! Never let anyone tell you who you are. Do the research for yourself because chances are they're only highlighting the negative parts.
"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed."
~ Booker T. Washington
Want to know success looks like? Take a look back at how far Blacks in America have come. Read about the Civil Rights Movement and all the advancements being made in the Mother Land. In reading these stories about our history you will see that we've overcome millions of obstacles. You'll see that we a people of resilience. You'll see that we our a people who can't be stopped because success is in our blood.
It's all written right there in our history how we've managed to work together and defeat each demon, demolish each barrier and emerge successful and victorious! The obstacles of our past have made us stronger and positioned the drive to succeed right in our hands. I won't always be around, but know that whatever obstacles you face in life, if you want to know how to defeat them just take a look back our history. The Bible says that there is nothing new under the sun and God's word it correct. You're bound to find someone that has had to overcome your obstacle, research until you find out how they overcame and then tailor their problem-solving technique to match your needs.
No need to keep reinventing the wheel completely when you can just research and only make a few adjustments!
Dreams to Reality
"We all have dreams. In order to make dreams come into reality it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort."
~ Jesse Owen
Harriet Tubman once had a dream of becoming a freed woman and leading other slaves to freedom. You know what inspired her to get focused and disciplined enough to carry out her plan? Her past/history. History had shown Harriet Tubman that if she didn't get serious about her dreams they'd never become a reality. She'd end up dying a slave like many others before her had.
Celebrating our history can often give us the push we need to make our dreams into something real. Don't miss out on your chance!
I love you. Don't forget celebrating our Black history is important and it's something we do 365! I hope one day you all will pass this letter and 365 Black history celebration down to my grandkids and that you'll encourage them to do the same. Remember it's our responsibility to teach each other!
Letters To Our Children is a monthly series started by Lashawn of Everyday Eyecandy. Swing over to A Southern Bowl of Gumbo to read Tamika's letter to her daughter!