It’s More Than Just Another Month – What Black History Means To Me

Black History Month means different things to different people.

As a Nation we have a month of recognition and silence for the mighty men and women of color who paved the way for all of us. We recognize them for their hard work, tears, and for those who died fighting for equality for people of color. I am proud to be a man of color born in America.

As we take time to celebrate this notable occasion, I would like to share what Black History Month means to me.  For me, Black History Month is a time of reflection, rejoicing, and recommitting to reach the next generation.

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Black History Month is a Time of Reflection

Black History Month is a time to think about what it means to be an African American. We stand on the shoulders of giants who sacrificed to pave the way for a better tomorrow.  It is a time to reflect back on the activists and organizers of the past involved in the fight for racial equality. The direct action being utilized by pacifist groups, and the bravery shown in the face of extreme racially motivated violence. It allows me to think back on the progress that was made in a relatively short period of time but then lets me recognize how much more work there is to do. Not only is Black History Month a time of reflection, it is also a time of rejoicing.

Black History Month is a Time of Rejoicing

Every February we celebrate and thank those African-Americans who have gone before us for giving us hope, which, in my opinion is better than optimism. It is not always possible to stay optimistic during tough times. Optimism is based on evidence; there has to be some reason why you believe things are going to be better. Sometimes there is not a whole lot to be optimistic about, and that is where hope comes in.

Hope, on the other hand is quite different than optimism. Contrary to the popular saying, “Hope is not a strategy,” I believe hope is a strategy. Hope is a confident expectation regarding the unseen and future (Hebrews 11:1-2; Colossians 1:27). Our ancestors held on to hope when facts, circumstances, and actions of others said otherwise. They had no evidence and no reason to believe things would get better, so they held desperately to hope.

They based their hope on the fact that:

  1. God will continue being what He has always been – faithful (2 Timothy 2:13)
  2. God will successfully complete whatever He has begun (Philippians 1:6)
  3. God would keep all His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20)
  4. There will be complete justice and equity established (Romans 14:10; Hebrews 9:27)

Not only is Black History Month a time of rejoicing, it is also a time to reach and inspire the next generation.

Black History Month is a Time to Reach The Next Generation

Black History is not just about all the bad times we have been through. It is about integrity, leadership, and determination. It is about showing your true character.

How a person deals with the circumstances of life tells you many things about his character. Crisis does not necessarily make character, but it certainly does reveal it. Adversity makes a person choose one of two paths: character or compromise. Every time a person chooses character, they grow stronger.

“Character is the foundation on which a person builds his or her life. It all begins with character because relationships operate on the basis of trust. Character communicates credibility, harnesses respect, creates consistency, and earns trust,” according to John Maxwell. Again, Black History Month is a time to reach the next generation and help shape their character.

Not only is Black History Month a time to reach and inspire the next generation, it is also a time to recommit to making the world a better place.

Black History Month is a Time to Recommit

Black History Month is time a recommit and go into the world and show that we are equal, have the same rights, and we can achieve at the save level.  As African Americans we have rich history of making our communities, cities, and world a better place.  Some believe that Black History month is no longer needed. I disagree. Why? Our history did not begin with slavery. We were not always slaves, unlearned, in the shadows, and under achievers.

In conclusion, I am grateful we have living trailblazers such as former US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch, and President Barak Obama. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to see America elect its first African American President.  As a father with two sons and a daughter, they see what is possible through sacrifice, hope, commitment, and determination.  As nation, we have come a long way and yet we still have many more mountains to climb and valleys to go through.  If our ancestors did it considering the insurmountable obstacles before them, SO CAN WE!

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