Let me correct that. Black History is amazing, but our connection to it every year around this time is interesting. We boast our heroes and ancestors, grateful for their sacrifices and achievements, as well as the strides that have been made due to their work. And that’s GREAT. But a bit short-sighted. At least to me. Black History is about the mere existence as a black person in this country, each of us, past and present, adding a bit more water to a deep, deep well. My mother was the first black woman to hold the top position at her job. You’ve never heard of her, or her company, but because of her, another black person has a shot at that position now that my mother has retired. Even those of us who “go astray,” the ostracized and ridiculed, though seen as toxic and embarrassing, they too are part of this rich history. Amos & Andy, a show that displayed us as clowns and buffoons was in fact the first black sitcom. There would’ve been no Cosby show if it wasn’t for Amos & Andy. Sometimes there’s purpose even in the poison.
My point is, Black History is a never-ending quilt. Different squares, patterns, colors, stitched together to provide shelter and warmth for the present and future. And though some squares may seem more intricate, more vibrant, without the square it’s attached to, it’s simply just a handkerchief.
Therefore, EVERY square is valuable. EVERY square is woven into this history. So let’s celebrate, not only the big names — the bright squares — but also our individual families, our private stories, and our personal and communal steps toward, first, self-acceptance, as well as racial equality.