Guest Author - April Alisa Marquette
Why is Black History Month important? This and similar questions have long been asked. Well, I'll answer. Every race of people, further, every ethnic group needs to be conscious of, and rehearse their history. One reason is...when an ethnic group resides in a larger society that differs from them, their culture and achievements can become swallowed up, by the whole. Or those things may become minimized. Entities that are sources of pride for that ethnic group can also easily wind up overlooked, or worse, those things can be forgotten.
People who have made incomparable contributions to society can also wind up slipping from mind. Yes, if parents -- who are the front line in teaching / remembering our history -- are not diligent in preserving it. If teachers, religious institutes, and even people like myself, authors and editors, don't reinforce knowledge it can be lost.
And the truth is we never want to forget from whence we've come. Like Jewish people who never forget many things, including the Holocaust, African-Americans do not want to forget the Middle Passage, that terrible and terrifying transport of unwilling Africans from their homeland to the Americas and other places. We never want to forget the ravages of American slavery and lynching, or the demeaning effect of the Jim Crow system. The things we remember are not all heinous though... We want to remember the moments of soaring joy provided by the Civil Rights Movement, and the victories of other Black organizations for social justice. In these days of wariness, unrest, and worldwide economic travail we may even find that we can look to history. Quite possibly it may provide clues on how to successfully move forward, to create viable solutions for what ails.
I believe Black history is also important because we never want to forget our heroes and sheroes -- those people who made lasting contributions to society. They are people like Edward Franklin Frazier, an African-American sociologist who taught at Fisk University, and Henry Ossian Flipper, the first Black West Point graduate, who studied engineering. We want to remember Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, recorded as America's first Black classical music singer, and Richard Wright, a prolific writer. We remember Thurgood Marshall, a lawyer and Supreme Court Justice.
To learn more about these contributors to society, visit your local library -- or meet us in the Ethnic Beauty forum. Whatever you do, never forget... Our stories matter, no matter what our individual ethnicities may be!