Black History is Human History Pt. 2
Warning: Personal Share
To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I was going to write this post at all. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to write this post to be more accurate. It’s February 2022, also known as Black History Month.
I grew up celebrating Black History Month in school, learning about all of the great things that Black people have accomplished over the years. I was raised between two households; you know, the typical American blended family set up. At both my mom and my dad‘s house however rules were rules. I was expected to go to school, learn my lessons, others with kindness, stand up for myself, and pursue my dreams.
For the most part, I did all of the above. I did so, watching my parents, black Americans work their chosen profession while raising a family. I couldn’t see then as a child, what I can see so clearly now as an adult. That is a testament of course to my parents. They did an exemplary job of protecting me from the undermining ignorance at-large in society.
I came of age believing that all beings were created equal and free. But if I worked hard, and minded my own business I would get ahead in the world. These are things that I actually believed well into my adult years.
Then 2020 happened.
It’s now 2022 and I’m still processing, integrating, and putting myself back together from the kajillion tiny pieces that I exploded into during the year that was 2020. Definitely, it’s a work in progress. I do not expect that I will put myself back together in quite the same way that I was before. I know too much milk, I’ve seen too much now.
Four years ago I interviewed my father for Black History Month. At the time, I had only recently learned that he marched with other civil rights activists, and was a part of the Freedom Riders movement as well as the Black Panthers movement during that era. My intention was to capture his experience first hand for posterity sake. He had been diagnosed with cancer for the second or third time, and I did not want to lose the opportunity to witness his experience.
He died February 19, 2021.
Below is the original blog post from that interview with my father four years ago. So much has changed in the past four years. I have changed. The world has changed. My father is no longer here. Unfortunately what has not changed is the struggle of Black people all over the world to live in harmony, peace, and freedom with their neighbors.
I am my father‘s daughter. In my own way, I join the likes of my father and other human rights activists throughout the ages who have stood tirelessly demanding a future that realizes freedom for all.
Here’s to Black History, which is human history. A story of struggle, perseverance, failure and success.
***Original post from 2/10/2018
For Black History Month this year I did something new; I talked to my father about his involvement in the SCLC during the Civil Rights Movement. My father joined the movement at the age of 15 and marched alongside Clarence Mayfield, Hosea Williams and other names you know and honor from this pivotal time in American History.
I asked my father; what had made him join what he calls “The Movement”. His reply “it wasn’t too much a black man could do then – in regards to what was happening to us, how we were treated. But we could march, a black man could march, so that’s what we did.” I noted that 15 was young, for him to be thinking about joining in something so big, that would eventually make a difference for the whole world. He says “I didn’t have a choice.”
I listened as he began to list town after town, city after city that he had marched in. I cried as I imagined my father, a 15 year old man- marching for basic human rights, for the freedom to live life as a human being. I’m still crying as I share this with you. Present to: 1. I was always going to be who I became 2. I’m the freedom fighter for my generation.
I told my father so. “ Dad, you know you did what there was for you to do at that time; in the face of inequality and the serious threat against the black race in America. Now it’s on me and my generation; we’re facing the same atrocities – but now these evils are being hung on the necks of the human race in total. Seems like when it was just black people being burdened with inequality in this country- nobody thought anything was wrong-except for the few who did. Now, everyone is burdened and it seems like still nobody cares-nobody is coming. “
Except we are. We are coming. We are here. Our fathers and mothers marched. And now so do we. In the face of the same machine that continues to devalue and deform what it is to be a human being; regardless of your skin color, your hair color, your eye color- the color of your blood is what rings true- YOU ARE HUMAN. Your very existence grants you the right to BE. That’s why we call ourselves Human Beings.
Only thing is – we call ourselves Human Beings; but we’ve become Human Doings. So disconnected from our Being that we allow Others to reap the benefit of that disconnect and watch like innocent bystanders as our freedoms are systematically taken from us on a daily basis. We’ve played the role of victim for so long- it’s become all we know. BUT WE ARE NOT VICTIMS. We have a say in how EVERYTHING in our life goes and flows. What is required of us now is not to just march, not to just complain about how it should be; what’s required of us now is to allow our discontent, our frustration, our resignation to become the very energy that propels us forward into a future of freedom.
Stand right where you are. So few of us stand- let alone march. So start by standing. Right where you are. Stand for your truth in the face of popular opinion. Stand for your family, your community, your city, your state, your country. Stand for your race: the HUMAN RACE.
After all, at the end of the day; a race is just a game. So play to win. Play to win over tyranny, over inequality in all of its forms. Play to win over poverty and discrimination in your country and in the world. Play to win the game of Human Being. Play to win your freedom. Play to win back the rights that were stolen from you the moment you were born into this realm. No matter who you are, where you are, what you are. Stand and Play to Win.
Power to All People
All People are Free