February is Black History Month and I’m never really quite sure how to handle it. Should I write a post dedicated to some aspect of Black history? Should I write a month long series? Should I just ignore it and move on? I think my attitude reflects the conflicted world in which I was raised.
We weren’t raised with Black consciousness. In fact, I remember back in the day when Roots would come on the television my mother would get a little upset because Blacks were being shown as slaves. I never viewed slavery as my shame, I viewed it as the shame of a people who thought the subjugation of an entire race of people based on color was acceptable. In school, we never learned about Black history beyond Malcolm X was bad and Martin Luther King, Jr. was good.
As I grew older, I became interested in history, specifically the history of Black women. In fact, my senior project for my Bachelor’s Degree was on women and the Black Power Movement. While studying and putting together the information for my paper I was overwhelmed by the incredible amount of strength these women embodied. It is this strength that has fortified us as a people and enabled us to weather any storm…
If you get a chance, check out Sisters in the Struggle: African~American Women in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. It’s a wonderfully written book that provides an interesting history of women such as Ella Baker, Dorothy Height, and Septima Clark among others. I’d also recommend The Black Panther Party Reconsidered which takes a look at the role of women within the movement (it also examines the rise and demise of the organization). Lastly, take a look at Remaking Respectability: African American Women in Interwar Detroit which explores the experiences of working~ and middle~class Black women in Detroit and how they helped to transform politics and culture during that era.
So I want to take this moment to salute those women ~ the unsung heroes who held it down on a daily basis and I want to raise the fist to those who continue to press on for their family, friends and community.
Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this post