At first I wanted to write an article on what Black History Month means to me. I wanted to really be honest with myself and say that Black History Month doesn’t actually mean anything to me – especially as only one month is dedicated to it. I mean, surely I’m not the only person who is asking ‘Why is it only one month’?! What about the other 11 months? Is it not fair to say that it’s absolutely ridiculous that only one month is dedicated to black history?! With what’s going on now within the black community? More than two centuries of slavery and the many centuries of black history; one month is just not enough!
In England (I can only speak of England) I went through my whole secondary school learning about historical events in white history. You know, the usual WWI and WWII, the British Empire/Governments. Oh yes there were snippets of the history of black people and slavery – because I did learn that black people fought in those famous wars but a lot of British achievements and civilisation were actually built on the back of enslaved black people in this (and other countries, notably the USA) – and that truth is not in the national curriculum! Back then I remember being the only black child in my classes getting the awkward stares from my peers when the teacher did mention a small snippet of slavery. Back then I didn’t know what Black History Month meant to me and if I am really honest with you, i still do not know what it actually means to me even now!
Don’t get me wrong, I know the obvious black historical legends: Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Marian Anderson, Muhammad Ali and many more. I’ve gone out there to search our historical legends but who do we have today? Who are the notable black people that young people have to look up to NOW?
A lot of those whom I feel young people can look up to are usually American – the closest black historical legend of today being Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Serena Williams and Barack Obama but is that enough?! No is the clear answer. Where are those making a difference today everywhere – especially on the continent of Africa itself? I don’t want to get too much into the numbers of black people that are continuously experiencing bad outcomes from their local authorities because let’s face it, our communities are not much better. Honestly there are still a high number of killings, etc. within our own communities here in Britain!
The people who are expressing a strong view for the political movement of #blacklivesmatter like Beyoncé and Rihanna are not enough and to be quite frank they are not exactly your typical role model you would want for the next generation! We need more people like Jesse Williams taking ownership and speaking about black historical events – AND MAPPING A WAY FORWARD! Better yet we need more speeches, protests more political movements worldwide. Britain would be a good start. There are enough of us out there to be the best and next black historical legend for our generation and generations to come. It needs to be current so if you are doing something for the progress of your local or black community, let it be known! I’m not saying that there is no one out there doing enough but I’m worried for not just my generation but the next generation not knowing enough about what is being done for our people.
What does Black History Month mean to you as someone reading this? What can you or our communities do to become the next black historical legend/s?
This month as some of you may know already, I have decided to make all written content dedicated to Black History Month but from what I’ve written so far, you already know that this will not just be dedicated for a month. I want it to be drummed for every month. I want my black historical knowledge to grow and I want our communities to grow with me.
So stick around. This is just the beginning!