As an African American woman living in the heart of the South; I see through these gracious brown eyes a country that is truly blinded by what I call “Hallow Equality.” Millions have died and Billions of dollars have been paid out of the national budget (our taxes) to protect “our” freedom and ‘our” country. Yet, it seems as a nation; we dishonor those sacrifices and dismiss them as something that happened in a Hollywood production. In every war, whether it is the Middle East or Ferguson Missouri; those were real people with real blood and this is one REAL issue.
In a time of heated accusations, allegations and humiliation; there are some topics too delicate for the weak and too menial for the strong. I doubt it will win the popular vote nor will it ever be featured on the front cover of any major magazine; however, it is a message whose time has come. I ask kindly that you not judge the messenger, but that you find an infantile thread of truth within these lines from which you can at least pause for a moment to say, “ah, this part is true.”
We preach freedom, we hear it across social media and mass media; the narrow-lensed cameras of CNN, NBC and FOX seems to gravitate to mass hatred and finger pointing.
Still the sobering truth is that there are still undercurrent ideals and beliefs that remain untapped by the public, and branded eyes.
Although, many of my neighbors are U.S. born and bred; there are a few who have come from other shores. There is still the sense of inequality in the air as I hear words like “them, they, those people” as they trickle from the mouths of the “good and decent folks.” Anchors, report “A Black Man,” with no indicators when it is a “white man.” As to say, “White” is a given, while “Blacks” must be addressed in an undertone of “Let’s add additional shame and disgrace to this race of people who have violated out territory.”
While the Media has a frenzy over government shut-downs and presidential tweets, the “Reds” are fighting those who feel a little “Blue.” We watch closely as the leaders of our great nation turn their heads and hearts toward vengeance on their “foes” who look just like “those” people who live next door.
In the heat of debates, marches and threats of attacks from other nations, we are called upon once again to embark upon a task that almost seems meaningless in the wake of #BlackLivesMatter #BlueLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter and those who set on the sofa thinking “Nothing Matters; to speak to the recognition of Black History Month.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson had no idea that his dream would be given the recognition it is today, it is to him we owe this credit. Dr. Woodson as a young historian in the early 1900s fought to educate and inform others of the Black man’s contribution to this country. His well-documented and proven philosophy was, “if a people’s history was lost, they will soon become intellectually and perhaps physically extinct.”
The year was 1926 and Dr. Woodson and the Association of the Study of Negro Life and History announced that the second week of February would be “Negro History Week.” The group took note that Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is on February 12th. Fredrick Douglas birthday was given February 14th therefore it was fitting for the celebration.
He launched a campaign to get Black History into the public-school systems of America. Dr. Woodson’s mission was met with great opposition as most commonsense, and human decency proposals still are today. It is with great respect that we honor the states of North Carolina, Delaware and West Virginia and the cites of Washington D.C. and Baltimore that aligned their public-school systems with Woodson’s initiatives.
Woodson saw that the Native Americans did not see the need for maintaining and acknowledging their heritage in this country and therefore in his eyes had lost their identity. He pointed out how the Jewish people had kept their heritage alive through recognition and celebration. Woodson did not want this to happen to the Black people.
As the son of former slaves, Woodson was armed with degrees of intelligence and fortitude from the University of Chicago and Harvard that would impact Black people for generations to come.
As we celebrate Black History Month we stand on the shoulders of great men and women who paid a price they should not have had to pay. They paid it to create a world that would be the way God intended from the beginning. A world where in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. every person would be judged on the “content of their character and not the color of their skin.”
That world of dreams and peaceful things is still far from the view of the media camera’s eye.
Most of us would love to see how Blacks and Whites are united and Blues and Reds are standing together as one nation; a world built on peace and goodwill toward all men?
It lies beneath the core of the anger, bitterness and debates. It rests in the hearts of people who have grown past what “they” did, to a place of “what we can do.” It is the world of hope and friendship across oceans and caring more for causes than for cash (although one is required to support the other). It is the world where Blacks are no longer a minority but a contributing group of individuals without whom no nation would flourish.
This is the real world to which we all belong. Let us find what has already been fought for, and made us the One Nation Under God Indivisible With Liberty and Justice for All!
The only way to truly honor one’s heritage is to honor God. Black people will only be as great as the God they (we) serve. White people will only be as great as the God “they” serve. God has one people and those are the people who can truly embody the song “We Shall Overcome” and move past the color of the skin to the place of uncompromising love. Americans, we stand united and in division we will lose our vision for this one nation under God.
For Further Insight:
Dr. Carter G. Woodson visit www.Woodsonmuseum.org