Monday, February 19, 2007

Black History Month - A Personal Meditation

by Savannah

Black History Month started out as Negro History Week. I remember wondering as a child why they even bothered since people who looked like me needed only a week to discuss our history while we spent all year studying England, France and the US War for Independence. Of course they never taught us that the original Declaration of Independence had strong statements against slavery and England's role in that horrid commerce which the Southern land owners had removed. My daughter has been taught about this little known fact.

For my generation this was not the case. As I got older it seemed that while the soon to be American citizens were fighting for their freedom from tyranny they had not for one second considered freeing the men, women and children held in chattel slavery on the very land they were fighting to claim as theirs. During Negro History Week we learned about Lincoln freeing the slaves. That was when our history was said to begin.

It was a long fight but that week became a month and black Americans began to take pride in coming from the continent of Africa. We could never know whether we were Ibo, Yoruba, Muslim or practicioners of traditional religions since our names and culture were deemed subversive after Toussaint L'ouverture and Henri Christophe threw the French off the island of Haiti. It took Alex Haley's drama, "Roots" to open the flood gates for African Americans to look back not with shame but pride to the men and women who survived the Middle Passage and fought to live in the face of daunting odds.

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Anonymous said...

What do the numbers on the map mean?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Craig and Savannah for articles on Black History Month.

I grew up in Asia where we only read about black people's culture from world literature (there was no TV Travel Channel at the time) and knew some of them as sport stars.

After I came here to America I found that black people were also very talented in music, especially they have the most beautiful singing voice. Some years ago, I was invited to a wedding of a black couple, I felt very close, something reminded me of my home country.

Before US Open 2000 I was not a tennis fan yet. Sometimes I watched Sampras, Agassi, but I didn’t really get into it. Then when the USO started, I happened to fell sick. I'd never had such bad flu before in my life, couldn’t go to work, stayed home and …watched tennis. I remembered watching Venus-Hingis match when Venus was about to lose and her dad left, then she fought back and won. I felt like she gave me strength, and I fought against my illness without taking any medicine. People thought I was insane, no one knew what I was thinking. Of course Safin won that time also, and that the reason why Venus and Marat are special to me.

I also like Serena especially when Venus lost and Serena stepped up to defend their family’s and their country’s name.

I like to think about people’s souls rather than about their appearance, even though I have to admit that Venus and Marat are the most beautiful athletes in my eyes.

I hate any discrimination, especially racism. Only the inferior-minded people, who can’t be proud of themselves, need to use discrimination in their favor and to cover up their emptiness.

Thank you guys for letting me share my thoughts.


wilma said...

Thank you Craig for sharing this, it is an eye opener!!

Craig Hickman said...

Thanks for sharing your personal story, Lan. It is always a pleasure to read your words.

Wilma, good to "see" you again, and I'm glad that you enjoyed the entry.