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.
I love the month of February, as cold and short as it can be. You can always snuggle in and catch a documentary of some long forgotten point in Black history. In my case, Hmmm, I never knew that.
Though this blog IS about copywriting, it is good to get a sense of who the writer is and some notations in history that has made an impact on her.
I waited to gather my thoughts about Black History Month until now as March is Women’s History Month. Just wanted a two for one post on my insights. One is a term used to describe me, the other one I fully embrace. I might add and borrow from the late Maya Angelou, phenomenally so.
I can understand why some people think why not have 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, Americas, 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’s or culture. We are all important, eventhough most of us are so unaware of one another. I think my point is well received.
It’s not with selfish gratitude that I acknowledge Black History Month. The take away for us whether we participate or not is to fully embrace and reflect on our lives on this planet. The good, the bad and the amazing. If we don’t come to contribute and assist others when we are able, then we have not fully lived. So rather than criticize others who have searched and documented their own histories, do so for yourself. I use to love watching African American Lives hosted by Henry Louis Gates Jr. It was also as intriguing to see Mr. Gates explore lives of people other than African American.
Knowledge of self is paramount. Others study us well, very well. Our expression 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 evolve and develop but never forget from points of recent history. Some things have not been that long ago. One thousand years ago is a long time but some of the stuff we’ve experienced maybe two hundred years ago, though modernized, just never seem to change. The information is at a touch for some of us to review, rather than having to get up and go to some old moldy back room.
I am not going into some specifics but I sat and watched the Grammys this year. Though I cringed and frowned, my take away is, 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 I’ve loved and watched them. 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. I’ve heard some phenomenal British singers “sang” as they have been influenced by black artists. It’s time for us to change our thinking.After all that’s happened, let’s just insist on respect for our contributions and continue on.
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 called 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 Ida B. Wells who took on writing about the horrific practice of lynching as a journalist. She risked the fate of those she wrote about. Who can dare add to that outcry for justice? I dare say who in her time was a brave as she? Not to discount the work of others in other areas but I have read into her accounts of how brave she had to be in light of the dangers that were facing her. She reported facts. Many other people were refusing to give up their seat later on. That was an important lesson in fairness. Yet, not as important as the innocent dying at the hands of mob violence. Some things have been publicized and brought to the forefront moreso than others. We have become imbalanced in our thinking. It’s important to dig for truth and get the facts. It’s our individual responsibility to do so. Not to wait on popular culture to affect our thought processes as much as they now do. Ida B. Wells is indeed remembered for the woman that she was. She literally tried to save lives. Ida B. Wells stood up against mainstream journalism and brought to light misreported horrors. I think she did it out of 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. In the religion I practice, another name for Jesus Christ is, The Word. We know that much of His words have been saved in print. 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?
Forever Peace and Grace,