A Crafter's Life

Black History Month

I had a different post planned for this morning, but I was thinking about “Black History Month” in the US, which is every February. Here is a link from the History Channel network if you are not familiar with it or would like to learn more: Black History Month.

No matter where you live in the world I am guessing you are familiar with the history and struggles of people of African decent in the United States. I want to share a post I put on facebook yesterday about Black History Month:

Today is the first day of Black History Month and I know there are individuals in this country who might roll their eyes each February when this month comes around. When I was growing up my parents always made a big deal about Black History Month and we even had some type of encyclopedia they had bought related to Black History and had me read it regularly. Some of you might might not understand what it meant to me as a young Black child to learn about people like me who did GREAT THINGS. Growing up in the 1970s most of the history taught my school focused on “White History”. Back then they even skewed stories of slavery being focused on African tribes selling their tribe members instead of the horrors of our ancestors being stolen also from Africa. Growing up in a time where the focus was that as a person of color you were “less than” a White person was a very different experience than growing up today. I am so thankful for Black History Month and I will always celebrate it! I am so thankful to my parents that in a country that said I was “less than”, I was raised to know that I am “more than” any oppression that tries to tell me I am “less than”.

I am grateful that my parents who believed in education and making the best of yourself despite any challenges you might face. I always think of that Mahatma Gandhi quote when I think of how I was raised:

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.

Remembering this quote has served me well when I am in a situation (which still happens today) in which it is implied that I am “less than”.

I recently finished an awesome audiobook by the Young Adult Fiction writer, John Green – The Anthropocene Reviewed: Essays on a Human-Centered Planet. In this amazing collection of essays where he “reviews” common human experiences during our geological age, the Anthropocene.

To give the readers a perspective of time since the geologic creation of the earth, he uses the span of a year. The time humans appeared on the earth would be late December and what we would consider “major events in history” would be mere seconds, or milliseconds in the time span of the earth.

So you might be wondering where I am going with this…

Well the author’s use of a familiar time scale – a year’s period – really put into perspective how little time has really passed in the scope of human history (and tiny in the scope of earth’s history) of what we consider to be significant changes in race relations in the US like the end of slavery and the Civil Rights movement. I think in a couple more generations, how people treat each other will evolve (hopefully for the good). Just my musings I am sharing.

I will close this post with a song that I’ve been listening to a lot lately, by Damien Marley, one of the very talented musician sons of Bob Marley, called Speak Life. It gives me a lot of thought on how I want to live my life.

If you’d like to see the lyrics here is a link: Damian Marley Speak Life Lyrics.

If you are wondering what “Speak Life” means, I did a little googling and it is related to a Bible verse and here’s a general summary which is a consensus of my research:

To speak life is to be a person of encouragement, edification, and blessing to others through what you say.

– gotquestions.org

I say we all go forward and “Speak Life” and make this world as bright as we can.

Featured image from dscout.com

41 thoughts on “Black History Month”

  1. I love that sentence that says “I was raised to know that I am ‘more than’ any oppression that tries to tell me I am ‘less than.'”
    When I was growing up, I didn’t like history, because it was all dates and battles. Then in the 1990s, through my interest in weaving, I started working at a historical park here in Texas and it got me interested in social history, in how all kinds of people lived in the past. The park had been a ranch and it presented the story of one family from the 1830s through the 1930s, the family and all their workers. So we had a lot of Black history to tell! In my opinion, we tried to present the history in the light of that sentence above. And then in the 2000s, my job was teaching history to a very diverse group of 5th graders, and that is the attitude I tried to emphasize. I wish I had had known that pithy saying to help guide my lessons! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to go with my weaving guild to craft fairs to show weaving — people always thought that since I knew an old craft, I knew lots about other old things, and I got tired of saying, “I don’t know”! I had to learn out of self-defense! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. It has always astonished me how Black people could be brutalized and told they were not welcome โ€” while they, as a people, had been violently forced to the U.S. from their African home as slaves. Meanwhile, in Toni Morrisonโ€™s novel Beloved, the narrator notes that, like the South, the Civil War era northern states also hated Black people but happened to hate slavery more.

      After 3.5 decades of local, national and international news consumption, I have found that a disturbingly large number of categorized people, however precious their souls, can be considered thus treated as though disposable, even to an otherwise democratic nation. When they take note of this, tragically, theyโ€™re vulnerable to begin subconsciously perceiving themselves as beings without value. (Iโ€™ve observed this in particular with indigenous-nation people living with substance abuse/addiction related to residential school trauma, including the indigenous children’s unmarked graves in Canada.) … And there has been little or no reparations or real refuge for the abovementioned peoples.

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      1. What happened to the Indigenous children ripped my heart out when I learned of it. Why historically did part of the US population need everyone else to assimilate in to it and give up their cultures and traditions? I guess it was fear of what they do not understand. I think everything like this boils down to fear..
        Thanks for your comments!

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  2. Thank you, Tierney, as grateful as I am that we acknowledge BHM (it’s October over here in the UK ) I wish for first, a time when we acknowledge this all the time and second for a time that we don’t need to make the distinction. ]

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Black history month is July in Australia but probably doesn’t get any where near as much attention as it should have given our treatment of Indigenous peoples and our pacific island neighbours.

    Like you I have to hope that in the future we’ll look back on this and wonder what we were thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Irrational racist sentiment is too often handed down generation to generation, regardless of race or religion, etcetera. If itโ€™s deliberate, itโ€™s something I strongly feel amounts to a form of child abuse: to rear oneโ€™s impressionably very young children in an environment of overt bigotry โ€” especially against other races and/or sub-racial groups (i.e. ethnicities). Not only does it fail to prepare children for the practical reality of an increasingly racially/ethnically diverse and populous society and workplace, it also makes it so much less likely those children will be emotionally content or (preferably) harmonious with their multicultural/-racial surroundings.

    Children reared into their adolescence and, eventually, young adulthood this way can often be angry yet not fully realize at precisely what. Then they may feel left with little choice but to move to another part of the land, where their race or ethnicity predominates, preferably overwhelmingly so. If not for themselves, parents then should do their young children a big favor and NOT pass down onto their very impressionable offspring racially/ethnically bigoted feelings and perceptions, nor implicit stereotypes and โ€˜humorโ€™, for that matter. Ironically, such rearing can make life much harder for oneโ€™s own children.

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  5. Parents certainly lay the groundwork for ‘speaking life’ to us their children. Because of them, we can ‘be ourselves’ in the most natural of ways without apology or feeling ‘less than’.
    Your thoughtful post is spot-on, Tierney.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved reading this post Tierney! Maybe this is how you got your love of literature?? As I write, I’m listening to an NPR interview about free speech and learning about the truth of our history. There are various places in the US who are censoring their teachers and librarians if they teach/read anything but what they want heard…a false reality! A step forward, and many back…hopefully more forward than back!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Wendy! Oh most definitely, I come from a family of teachers for generations. I was just reading an article this morning about some of that censorship going on, even if it is a book sharing the experience of a young person of color so others can better understand. I does seem like humans try to sneak backwards every so often….

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  7. So many things to respond to. I enjoyed the song, thank you for sharing. I picked up the John Green book at the library today, so it appears that I’m book stalking you. Happy Black History month! I fear not much has changed with how we teach history. We just got the 1619 picture book Born on the Water and love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice! I didn’t know Damian Marley. I’m happy to see the kids of several ethnic/racial groups in my neighborhood seem to mix without difficulty. Long way left to go, but there’s definite improvement in my lifetime, which is good to see.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great post, especially understand where “you came from with your parents willingness to make sure you understood”

    It’s 2022 and finally the schooling in New Zealand, is going to correctly address our “history” – a lot of the history was as someone else said “dates and battles” mostly to do with colonials arriving and taking over, ousting the indigenous people to be inferior and so forth. It was not until the last decade that I started to learn more about our indigenous people and what their ancestors achieved, things I’d never heard spoken of…

    And i’m a product of a colonial…

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