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Black History Month Through the eyes of a Black woman

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash.
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash.

Black History Month is a time that celebrates the legacy, sacrifices, success, culture, hard work and dedication that prominent members of the Black community have made throughout history. Black History Month is a time to acknowledge and to be educated on what the Black community, not only in America, but globally, had to endure, whether it was through their sacrifices or the trauma and troubles that they had to survive, just to be freed from slavery and treated as equal. Still to this very day, the entire Black diaspora is treated with discrimination. In spite of the community’s hard work and dedication to everything that they do, they all still receive the short end of the stick. Black History Month is a time for America to do some self-reflection, to move progressively forward, but to never forget about the success and hardships that the Black community had to face and, of course, the challenges that they still must overcome in the present day. Many are unaware that Black History Month used to last only a week, and was called “Negro History Week.” Thanks to a lot of pushing, conversation and continuous determination, the Black community has a whole month dedicated to celebrating us. 

Being that I am a Black woman living in America, it’s critical for me to remain vigilant and to also educate myself on the mental and physical turmoil my ancestors had to endure during the slave trade and the segregation time period in America. Even though Black History Month is a time to feel enlightened and inspired, it’s also important to go back to my roots to learn about how my ancestors sacrificed their lives to make our lives better.

When I think of Black History Month, the people that come to mind are Harriet Tubman, Malcolm X and Huey Newton. I think of these prominent figures in particular because of what their hard work and sacrifices look like. They were willing to put their lives on the line for the succession of their own people and community.

As a political science major at the university, I have learned about these influential historical people, but they were never new to me as their importance was already instilled in me and inspired me on a daily basis. Once I earn my degree I plan to help people who feel they don’t have a voice in this world, and I owe that in part to my idols. 

Harriet Tubman willingly and fearlessly put her life on the line to make sure that slaves had an opportunity to become free. 

Malcolm X constantly and fearlessly protested for racial equality and equity across America. He also stood up and fought for the Muslim community within America which many don’t know about. The fact that he was fighting for two of the most discriminated communities in America and was assassinated in the process is disheartening, but also very impactful to me. 

Huey Newton similarly had the same backstory as Malcolm X. Huey Newton is known for curation of the Black Panther Party, many assume that the Black Panthers were terrorists, when in fact they were only made to create a peaceful and safe environment for the Black community within America. The Black Panthers were very organized across the nation and many saw that as threatening because they were made for and by the Black community. Over the course of many years, they were shut down and all of the prominent leaders were killed, one- by one. 

The values these people stood for and the myths associated with their legacy are a primary reason why when I talk about Black history – I’m not only talking about the happy parts, but I would also want to talk about the sad and horrific parts as well, because as Americans living in this country, it’s crucial for us to know, learn, reflect and be made aware of the various aspects of Black history. 

Many fail to acknowledge that segregation in America was only about 60 years ago and that slavery only ended 100 years prior. The reason why the Black community is constantly protesting is because we’re still getting treated the same way that we were years ago, it’s just shrouded in different systems. There are still people around that have the same views and ideals that the white American society had back in the late 1800s, glorifying the “good ole days,” glorfying slavery.

Even though one month isn’t enough to share and to educate our peers on our culture, it could be the first step to promote unity and change across America. I’m a positive believer that with more advocacy, open conversation and increased peaceful protesting, we can truly start seeing racial equality and equity amongst all different races. The prominent, historical Black figure, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fought and died to see a dream like this happen. I believe that the rest of the world should work in tandem with the Black community. It’s not only up to the Black community, but to the world to fulfill MLK’s dream. It’s time for society to wake up and receive the opportunity of equality, equity, love, justice, respect and unity for all, no matter what given race you are.

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