Goodbye, February:

Spotlight on Us

Black history covers a wide range of fields and subjects, from doctors and lawyers to surfers and ballerinas, inventors and politicians. Just like every other race, black people are diverse in interest and accomplishment. The blacks featured here for the past month illustrate not only how blacks have affected society but the power of inner-strength. Many of the men and women discussed this month were born in an era when being black was a crime enough and punishable by death. Some of these people were born slaves, others confined by the Jim Crow laws of the south.

Picture from Black Enterprise
This not only means people expected them to continue with the status quo, but that it was illegal for them to go against the grain.Others featured this month are part of the newer generation. Unfortunately, they still face the same discriminatory attitudes our forefathers endured, but thanks to those older men and women, many changes have been made to the justice system which allow them (us) more freedom in obtaining their (our) goals.

Growing up, I was amazed that my grandmother—a black woman with no more than an 8th grade education—and my grandfather—a black man born in 1903 and raised in the south—could work hard enough to buy land and houses. The fact that they could raise 5 children and send them to college, even though they probably couldn't help with homework or college applications was a resounding message to me. As a child I would look up at my parents and my aunts and uncles of whom very few ever attended a desegregated school, yet they were still able to became successful businessmen/women, educators, doctors, etc. I know they went through struggles, from the stories of their childhood to the look in their eyes, and all of the problems I've experienced in life—racial or otherwise—seem pale in comparison. I had teachers tell me I couldn't achieve something, but it's never been illegal for me to try. I've had people call me the n-word, but I've never had to actually give up my seat for that person...

Our struggles are far from over and  it often feels like little or no progress has been made, but those of us lucky enough to be here now enjoy freedoms our ancestors didn't have. It's amazing how much a person can accomplish when they refocus their minds from negative to positive. Whether you're taking a chance on something you love that's seen as a "white" activity, bridging the gap between races, furthering your education, or doing something else entirely, remember that just because you have to struggle to achieve doesn't mean you can't achieve a victory. These people did, and both the cards and the law were stacked against them. If they can overcome obstacles, so can we. An easy victory may be easy, but a hard fought victory is worth so much more.

Dignity and pride are two traits these people all have in common from their struggles. When I'm gone, I hope someone will say the same about me because we are the future. We are the ones that can change the curriculum to make history inclusive. We are the ones that can change how we are viewed. We are the ones that can achieve the highest goals. We are the ones people will talk about. It's up to us to remember, to understand, and to move forward.
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  1. As always, it was a great read! The history of human struggle (and the incredible success that resulted from it, highlighted by some of these individuals) is one worth highlighting and celebrating! I learned a lot just from reading your posts during the past few weeks. Very well done and very inspiring as well :)





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