African American History, Uncategorized

BHM: Hidden History

We are amid Black History Month, this month we take the time to honor our heroes and teach others about our heroes. The main reason I enjoy Black History Month is that every year I learn about one person who I had no previous knowledge of, I am no spring chicken so learning about these people now is not something I am proud of. Knowledge of these great black people should be common.

Through my school years and my children schools’ years during Black History Month, we would discuss mainly the same individuals. The individuals discussed are extraordinary people, but the list of people was limited. The people we would discuss were Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, and Frederick Douglass; I enjoyed learning about them but each year it was basically the same information being regurgitated. I think it is a shame that our children are not taught about the vast number of great Black people in this world. Take the movie Hidden Figures, I knew nothing of these great women, oddly enough many well educated Black people knew nothing of them as well. Can you imagine our little black girls being taught about these extraordinary black women for the last 50 years, the impact of this knowledge may have had on our community? There countless other Black people who are not well known and should be. People such as Frederick Douglass Patterson, Bernard Harris, Reginald Lewis, Guion Bluford, Bessie Stringfield, Dr. Shirley Jackson and Lonnie G. Johnson just to name a few. There was a time when Black people could not hold a patent, so who took credit for all those inventions? What would Black wealth look like if Black people did hold the patents to their inventions?

My point to this is to say it is truly a shame that we do not know about our heroes in the same way we know about other race’s heroes. There people who idolize traitors to this country like, General Robert E. Lee but these same people dismiss Black people with great accomplishments. I believe there is a reason to hide this history from us and the rest of the world, by allowing this information to become common knowledge we would realize the greatness in ourselves and America would have to admit it would not be great without us

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African American History

The Unlearned History of the Black/ African-American Community

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?

 

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