As I have mentioned, schools back in the 80s-90s didn’t teach students about black history. Everything was whitewashed to make them feel and look better even tho that couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Anyway, I recently started to teach myself about black history… mainly, the stuff I didn’t know about growing up. I knew about the racism, voter suppression, lynchings, the slave trade, slave auctions, field and house slaves, and other more talked prominent people in black history. However, as you can tell A LOT was left out.
We were taught about Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and many other notable and famous black people.
Like, I said… I started to teach and immerse myself more and more about what was left out of black history such as Juneteenth, Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK, a real true account of slavery, and other notable and famous black people that were left out of the written textbooks.
I mean, of course, you can always pick up a book and figure it out for yourself. Or if you were lucky, you went to a historically black college or university (HBCU) or had black professors that taught you above and beyond, so that you were well informed. I had NONE of that. I went to a predominately white institution (PWI) or basically, a white college and never encountered history more than I had to and that was putting it mildly.
I avoided the REALITY of black history like the plague b/c I wasn’t ready to acknowledge what happened to my ancestors nor was I ready to face the fact that people are really this hateful, malicious, and evil for no reason other than jealousy and fear. Period. I still have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that there are people, who exist that are so hateful and as a reminder, that hatred is TAUGHT! 🤯😳 Whew!
So, lately I’ve been on a black history binge especially given the #BLM movement and marches, the changes of the government giving black people everything except what we’re asking for, and being motivated to be well informed b/c my place in the world is shifting. By shifting, I mean it’s changing for me internally and externally. What that means in totality, I don’t know yet. I just know that I’m changing as a person and becoming more knowledgeable.
I’ve been reading more Octavia Butler and attempting to read Toni Morrison (it’s gonna take some time due to her writing style), watching more black documentaries such as The Rape of Recy Taylor, James Baldwin’s: I Am Not Your Negro, and The Case of Ruby McCullom, and watching more black movies with a historical lens such as Selma and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. There’s a Youtube channel with a wealth of information that I love to visit called Reel Black. While I know that these are just small adjustments that I’m making in the thirst for knowledge and information, it’s far more than I would have done in the past and I’m proud of myself for my progress. NO, it doesn’t stop here! This is just the beginning!
If you were anything like me, at some point, the urge to learn more about your history, and black history in general, will come and it will be something that you can’t shake. I don’t know how I managed to avoid black history for so long, but either way, I’m on a mission now. I truly believe that you have to be open to receive certain information and before now, I don’t believe I would have received this knowledge the way I needed to or in a way it needed to change my world, my life like it needed to.
So, I say to you… dig in! The books, documentaries, knowledge, and teachers are there to help you digest what you’re reading, seeing, and hearing. The Internet is a great resource, but reading books such as autobiographies and memoirs are great as well. Documentaries are awesome b/c you can hear about experiences in their own words. Please, please… remember that you don’t have to flood yourself or overwhelm yourself with information. Take some time and really digest it. Reflect on it. Let it marinate. It can really change your perspective and outlook on certain things. You’ll be glad you did! ❤
Be well. Be informed. Be educated. Be safe!