Why We Celebrate African American History Month

Why We Celebrate African American History Month

It’s as simple as our stories, our history and our heroes were overlooked.

This is nothing against any other ethnicity, we are a minority people and mainstream history doesn’t always cover us well.

So starting with Carter G. Woodson in 1926 we got Negro History Week. Pictured is my childhood library on the South Side at 95th & Halsted, its named for Carter G. Woodson, hence why I have such reverence for him.

Remember that’s what we were called back then.

African American History week is the NAACP Image Awards from a few weeks ago, its education, enlightenment and celebration of our achievements.

Do we have an ego about our work & history?

Yes we do, think about this way, if you don’t celebrate yourself, who will?

Remember I’m a writer and believe strongly in self-promotion and feeling good about yourself.

In this day and age you can find out about Ish Monroe (he’s on Facebook), one of the few African American professional fisherman on the highest level of pro fisherman.

But then I’ll enlighten you on Alfred Williams the first African American to qualify for pro fisherman’s highest league. They call him the “Jackie Robinson of fishing”.

It’s simply about celebrating those who might be overlooked or not get their just due.

Those whom did so much that even some of us who write about civil rights might not know about.

My man Medgar Evers still should get more recognition. He didn’t do as much or was as high profile as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. because he was more local (he was not on a national stage, primarily worked in the south), and was killed in his driveway five years prior (1963), to Dr. King’s untimely death in 1968.

We also celebrate the arts, August Wilson (whom I loved his work), is now on the big screen with “Fences” starring Denzel Washington, which he won a NAACP Image award for his work in that film.

And what about “Hidden Figures” and the sensation it’s become?

That’s quintessential African American history and one of those sistas is still here to get her props. And we all get to hear about an amazing story that is right along with the classic American story of the “space race.”

African American history is also about education, I can remember growing up at Paul Revere School in South Shore and learning about people, both historic and modern and feeling good about myself and that there was nothing I couldn’t do.

We have to be sure the next generation knows there are no limits to them, Barack Obama is African American History, so is Mae Jemison. Local people who went further than any African American before them. One to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, the other into space.

Gotta give credit to my man Ronald McNair one of my heroes who died in the Challenger Shuttle explosion 31 years ago and then to present day Jeanette Epps who will be the first African American on the space station next spring.

Its all about letting people know about what our people have done and are doing.

I’ll be honest I take tremendous pride in writing about these people and I’m finding out about some of it too. I just heard about Astronaut Epps a few weeks ago.

I love this month just as I love our history and I feel its my duty to share these stories so that we all know and can celebrate African American history month.

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