February is Black History Month, a month in which the accomplishments of African Americans are celebrated. The blogosphere is inindated with bloggers of color taking the initiative to heart,educating their readers on the little known black history facts. From the comments I have read under the posts, their readers are truly learning new things and in some cases promising to repost. What is prevelant for me is not just the accomplishments of those notable African Americans in history but those that have influenced my own Black History.
I come from a very large loving family, larger on my Fathers side than my Mothers, all of us very connected. I have dozens of first cousins, all of whom have always felt a deep rooted connection to our lineage and legacy, a legacy primarily of service.
It is my legacy- from my mother and father who were raised in the Jim Crow south that expierenced our nations darkest days. They came from that with the belief that we will see a better tommorow. They instilled in me that there is still hope in the human condition.
From my Father’s Father who was one of the first people in his county in Alabama to register to vote. From my mother’s grandfather “Papa” who’s parents were slaves but made sure that his legacy was never one of hate and anger brought from the past-although it could have been.
From my sister, a surgeon, who in 2008 in Louisiana had to face a patient that didnt want to be touched by a ” negro”. She still treated him. From my younger sister who wears her African Gele head wrap with pride daily and has dedicated her life to educatiing and mentoring minorities. From my neice who at the age of 10 being the only child of color in her school, had to face a teacher who told her that she was most likely slower than the other kids and tried to treat her accordingly. She accepted the challenge and had to be promoted to higher grade level.
I don’t have the right to be angry, I don’t have the right to hate. I don’t have the right to not give back. Their legacy taught me tolerance, compassion, humility and forgiveness.
I honor those people who have paved the way for African Americans globally and celebrate those who have directly influenced the path I walk on in my own circle. Those influences have shaped my Black History.