February as we all know is Black History Month. It’s a time to celebrate the accomplishments and acknowledge the history of Black people throughout time. But hopefully as we all know, history cannot be relegated to just 28 days. My history and my worth as a Black person, goes far beyond the month of February. As we head into the last week of February, I wanted to highlight 3 ways to celebrate Black history throughout the year.
- Support Black Businesses: One of the easiest ways to celebrate Black History is to support Black Business. By supporting Black Businesses, you are partaking in a history that has been happening in this country for hundreds of years. After African-Americans were given their freedom, they went on to start businesses to support their communities. Many of these businesses became more successful than their white counterparts which led to friction within the community. Supporting a Black business not only helps to understand the history of Black entrepreneurship, but it can also help to fix the income gap between the white and Black communities. All it takes is a quick Google search to find a Black-owned business in your area.
- Educate yourself: Our school system here in America does not teach us the truth about American slavery. It does not teach us the truth about what happened after slavery, and it does not teach us the truth about the ways in which slavery still impacts our world today. If you want to celebrate Black History you need to understand that Black history starts before Africans were brought to these shores. There are so many books, and movies that you can watch to understand Black History on a deeper level. Netflix just released a wonderful limited series called Amend about the 14thamendment and how Black people fighting for our rights set the stage for women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights.
- Understand that our history is your history too: The slave trade didn’t just happen here in America, it happened in multiple countries on different continents by multiple empires. Empires that were built on the backs of African slaves, and that is a part of history. Not just Black history. By separating our history by race, it makes it appear that this only happened to us, and takes away the responsibility of those who committed these crimes. It might be a painful pill to swallow that your ancestors could partake in such an atrocity, but imagine being the descendent of a slave and tell me if that isn’t painful? Black history is forever intertwined with world history, because we don’t live our lives in a bubble. The accomplishments that we have made despite slavery are ours, but the struggles that we have endured are not just our triumphs; but it is the world’s shame.
These are just a few of the ways in which we can celebrate Black History throughout the year! Educating yourself and acknowledging that we all have so much to learn is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s a wonderful place to start!