Picture is copyright 1996 M. Jason Reed published and distributed by Portal Publications Ltd. Corte Madera, California. Picture taken on my cellphone & uploaded onto this blog.
Regardless, of how cold and short it is, I love the month of Februrary. Around that time of the year I look forward to snuggling in and watching a documentary of some long forgotten point in Black history. In my case, many times I’ve had to say, hmmm, I never knew that.
Though this blog IS about copywriting, it is good to get a sense of who the writer is and how historical facts have made an impact on her.
I waited to gather my thoughts about Black History Month until now as March is Women’s History Month. I just wanted a two for one post on my insights. Black is a term used to describe me, I’ll simply rather be called a woman than to be thought of and treated as a girl. Maya Angelou added, “phenomenally so.” Being black or being a woman should have never been thought on in a negative way, but it has.
I can understand why some people think why not have a White, Native People’s, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Nepalese, Russian, South African, Egyptian, Russian, Greek, Polynesian, Hawaiian, Mexican, Spaniard, Phillipino, Tawaianese, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Kurdish, Aboriginal, Syrian, Argentinian, Eskimo, Irish, Bahamian, Belize, Croatian, Scottish, Portugese, Chinese, Indian, American, Masai, Chilean, Caribbean & etc etc. etc. history months? We are seven billion plus peoples as varied and complex as we come. Forgive me if I missed your particular land mass, people, or culture. We are all important. Most of us are so unaware of one another’s people or culture. Black History month is about becoming aware. It represents more to me than being black. It stands in my mind that humans are just as varied as anything else in our world. No race should feel or believe that they are the standard to what being human is all about. I think my point is clear.
It’s not with selfish gratitude that I acknowledge Black History Month. The take away for me, whether you choose to participate in Black History or not, is to fully embrace and reflect on the past. The good, the bad, and the amazing is what you will find there. Reflecting on black history has allowed me to come to the conclusion that if we don’t have goals that make contributions to society to the end of assisting others, then we have not fully lived. So rather than criticize others who have searched and documented their own histories, do the same about your past. I love to watch “African American Lives,” hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. At first Mr. Gates explored the ancestry of African Americans and then he expanded his show to explore the backgrounds of all Americans. Once you reclaim who you are and where you’ve been, then you have the capability of truly getting to know and appreciate the past of others. The point of Black History month is that the majority of African Americans had been denied that right to know who they truly are and the course of their future. Who and what experiences your ancestors have had will affect your perspective about the need to look back and remember.
Knowledge of self is paramount. Others study us well, very well. Why are we viewed with suspicion when we want to know and search our past? What’s to be uncovered? Our right to do so cannot be tainted, watered down, or discounted.
The establishment of Black History Month was created to lift up the spirits of a haggard, disenfranchised, brutally murdered and treated people. Just go do some fact checking. We should move on but never forget the past that was. Some things that have occurred are not so long ago.
Looking back into history from one thousand years ago is a long time. Some of our ancestral experiences have been only two hundred years ago. Even though we live in modern times, some things never seem to change.
History is at the touch or a click for us to review. We don”t have to go into some old moldy back room to research our past.
I am not going to go into specifics but I sat and watched the Grammys this year. As I cringed and frowned, my thoughts were, stop trying to be as good as or included. Accept the sacrifices others have made and just keep pushing. I know this sounds simplistic. If I never win the Pulitzer prize for writing, would that make me any less a writer? Okay, so we do have black awards shows and of course I’ve watched them as well. Imagine someone from Malaysia saying, they should win the best R&B song for the year? It’s not even a possibility in some people’s minds. If that person from Malaysia can sing a certain genre, then it is what it is. To make it and that includes your sales, you have to be recognized by an established industry award, I get that. The point I want to make is, you can’t wait to be accepted to think you can make it or have made it. With so many independent platforms you can use on the internet, no one need be stifled by the establishment. I’ve heard some phenomenal British singers “sang” as they have been influenced by black artists. I’ve loved their music and yes they have been made popular by the media. It takes a little time to look into but you can find and support those artists who won’t make the big tme. It’s time for us to change our thinking. After all that’s happened, let’s just insist on respect for our individual contributions as we continue to make them in society.
Let me say this, one thousand years from now all this will be irrelevant. In the meantime, there is a process to get to that point. No one will be trying to make us think that we are irrelevant, steal what is ours or would have labeled us 4/5th’s of a person. Please correct me on that fraction if I am wrong. Sounds like pie in the sky? Just wait and see.
As I wind down this post, here’s a quote from W.E.B. DuBois from his book “The Souls of Black Folk,”
“Would America have been America without her Negro people?”
Of course I cringe when I hear or read that other N word. We’ve come a long way from that.
I’ll like to thank and remember Ida B. Wells who as a journalist took on writing about the horrific practice of lynching in America. She risked the fate of those she wrote about. Who can dare add to that bold outcry for justice? Who in her time was as brave as she was? I am not discounting the hard work of others in other areas but I have read into her accounts of the risks she took in light of the dangers that she faced. Ida B. Wells reported facts. Later on many other people were refusing to give up their seats in public. An important lesson in fairness. Yet, not as urgent as the time when the innocent were dying at the hands of mob violence. Some things have been publicized and brought to the forefront more so than others.
We have become imbalanced in our thinking. It’s important to dig for truth and get to the facts to the end of whatever may be discovered. It’s our individual responsibility to do so. We can’t continue to have popular culture continue to affect our thought processes. We are responsible for what we focus on and to find the answers to the questions about our shared history. Ida B. Wells is indeed remembered for the woman that she was. Through her reporting of facts, she reported the unthinkable. She tried to save lives even though many had already been lossed. Ida B. Wells stood up against mainstream journalism and brought to light misreported horrors. I think she did it out of the duty for her people and she expected no accolades.
I’ve managed to mention four African American writers in this post. Certainly there are more. Their works have affected us all profoundly. The ability to write, express, and capture in print is a skill that I most admire in others. As I continue to develop my skill as a copywriter, my goal is to write simply and engage my readers.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I’ve come to learn from John chapter one that anothet name for Jesus Christ is, The Word. We know that much of Christ’s words have been saved in the Bible. The ability to write the spoken word, well there is nothing as important as that. Tell me, by what other means can we truly remember our past if it not the printed word?
Forever Peace and Grace,