Does the unlearned history of the Black/ Africa-American community affect our position in society? If this unlearned history of the Black/African-American community was common knowledge would the world be different today?
I stumbled on this concept during one of my, for the lack of a better term, verbal jousting on twitter. Another individual and I were engaged in a conversation through twitter where I stated that Black people have contributed heavily to the development of America. His reply was am I talking about slavery, I replied we have contributed and invented things that have impacted the agriculture, science, and industrial sections of the country. The individual then reply name two instances, I provided him with five names of black inventors. Needless to say the conversation was basically over at this point. The individual had claimed in an earlier exchange that he was Native American, based on this exchange the question arose does the unlearned history of the Black/ African American community affect us. This question may be important because the individual I was in the exchange with was unaware of our contributions and learning of these contributions may affect his opinion about us. If so, will learning this history change the members of the Black/ African American Community?
During my sons and my school years I have noticed that there is very little taught about our history, during Black History Month the schools may dedicate more time to Black Historians but usually it is the more common black individuals. When our history is taught the majority of the time we are taught about individuals who impacted society after slavery, but our contributions began way before slavery. My little knowledge that I have gained about our history was acquired in my adult years. To gain this knowledge I read books or watch speeches by individuals such as Dr. Phil Valentine, Professor James Smalls, and John Henrik Clark. I also watch the Hidden Colors series and watched Black News 102. These individuals, media platforms, research helped grow my knowledge of our history. I still only possess a little bit of knowledge concerning our history.
In my opinion, learning about the Black/ African-American starting from slavery puts us at a disadvantage. Our children start learning about themselves from the lowest point in our history, therefore the view of your ancestors starts from a point when we were treated less human instead of a point where we ruled the world. When discussing slavery, it is made clear that we did not win our freedom, our freedom was given to us. This sends a message that the oppressor is the only one who can answer our prayers. If our children were taught about Ancient Kemet, Nubia, The Moors or individuals such as Mansa Musa would this give them a certain pride and motivate them to return to these levels of success. Movies like Tariq Nasheed‘s 1804: The Hidden History of Haiti is so important because it shows our children that during slavery there were some of us who took back our freedom and you do not have to wait for someone to give you your future.
Many of us have brought into the images that have been given to us, such as we are savages, Africa is an under developed country, that the European civilized us, and come from nothing. None of this true, in fact, it is the exact opposite. Learning this history may change our position in society and it may change the way the rest of society views us.
There is a reason our history is kept from us, some of the history is distorted, or stolen. I remember when I was much younger someone said to me that “with no history you have no future.” So is the unlearned history of the Black/ African-American Community affecting our future?