Thursday, January 07, 2010

Every Month Is Black History Month

We're close to celebrating another Black History Month. Unlike most people, thanks to my parents and my late godmother, I have a deep love of history in general and Black history in particular.

It drives a thirst for knowledge of my people that happens 365 days a year and 366 days in a leap year.

I'm one of those people who firmly believes that every month is Black History Month. Every month contains either the birthday of a historic figure in our history besides the January 15, 1929 one of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the anniversary of a groundbreaking event, the founding of an iconic organization such as the NAACP or the date a historic achievement occurred for our people.

For example, on this January 7 date inventor W.B. Purvis patented the fountain pen.

In 1891 writer Zora Neale Hurston was born in Eatonville, FL.

In 1955 Marian Anderson, the first African American singer in the company's history, made her debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera House as Alrica in Verdi's Masked Ball.

In 2002 Shirley Franklin was sworn in as the first African American female mayor of Atlanta.

We also can't sleep about the Black history that's being made right now in the White House, across the Diaspora, and the people that are making that history happen.

It's not just limited to the borders of the United States. Black history month is increasingly becoming an international event to reflect the fact that there's Black history being made in Canada, the Caribbean, in Europe, the African continent and wherever African descended people reside on this planet.

History is more than just remembering dates, places and larger than life personalities. It is the story of a people as well and endless What Ifs that had they occurred, could have changed the world we are living in at this particular moment in time.

And as I must remind people, just because we are GLBT people, it doesn't mean we became less Black. African descended same gender loving people and trans people have and will continue to play major roles in driving events shaping our people's history such as Bayard Rustin's involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and Marsha P. Johnson being involved in the 1969 Stonewall Riots and the events after it that resulted in the early trans rights movement.

Kelly Miller wrote in The Voice of the Negro in 1906, 'All great people glorify their history and look back upon their early achievements with a spiritual vision.'

Well, we African descended Americans come from a great people who reside on the second largest continent on our planet.

Those of us who ended up in the Western Hemisphere either voluntarily or on that involuntary boat trip have done remarkable things and contributed mightily to building this country.

And we need more than 28 calendar days to properly pay homage to that history.

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