The Legacy of Black History Month
Next month, we will be collectively celebrating Black History Month. This designated affinity month will provide opportunities to examine our collective struggles, triumphs and in some ways assess progress.
When we examine the history behind this particular esteemed occasion we have to name the glaring irony that currently exists in our world. In what I would call a makeshift crusade against Critical Race Theory, we can see active fault lines in our contemporary society. The testament of Black achievement and triumph that was collectively endorsed by President Gerald Ford in 1976 has somehow been diluted, vilified and distorted in the court of public opinion.
Many states, organizations and people support and endorse legislation like Florida’s Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act (Woke Act). Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been a launching pad to dismiss the truth of Anti-blackness, racism and xenophobia. And while most experts will tell you that CRT is high-level theory relating to race, gender and class identity, most of CRT’s deepest critics have no real knowledge of its premise. Research from Northeastern University shared that 7/10 US residents do not know what CRT theory is. Yet, the seemingly lack of substantial public knowledge about the theory hasn't deterred 29 states from actively creating legislation banning the incorporation of CRT in classrooms. As a former university Humanities faculty member I can tell you most college students aren't learning about CRT. So why is this fear looming large over society that kindergartners will be exposed? Arguably, most Americans would like to believe that our union is one where democracy, justice and equality have conquered the foulness of supremacy culture.
When we begin to examine the legacy of Black History Month we have to see the collective value in both speaking truth to power and celebrating when white supremacy does not win. This is a legacy that has been essential to Black people not only surviving in the United States but thriving. Since the judges gavel echoed the violence of injustice to John Punch, Black folks have worked tirelessly to fight for full humanity. Our communal response to this struggle is one that requires us all, no matter what our racial or social identities may be, to constantly bare witness to Black triumph.
So with this legacy in mind I encourage us all to commit to honoring the legacy of Black History month everyday of the year and make February a gracious occasion to help others do the same! Here are some tips that can help you celebrate this tremendous time of year!
Make plans to eliminate Anti-Blackness and racial terror yearlong and resolve to regularly support racial equity in your daily life.
Plan a Black History tour in your own state, city, or town. Helpful resources include:
15 Inspiring Places in the U.S. to Learn About Black History
Contribute to funds to organizations working to secure voting rights for Black US citizens:
Support organizations that uplift the lives of Black transfolks:
Schedule learning lunches for yourself! Spend time re/learning history. These resources can be a great start:
Buy books by Black authors. You can also review my reading list of books by Black women authors.
Support Black candidates running for elected positions
Support Reparations and get your Congressional officials to support HR 40
Support the Crown Act and get similar legislation passed in your state!