Join us on February 13, 2014 at 8PM EST for our Black History Tweet Chat. #BWBHistory.
By Marc W. Polite
I have been picked as the host of Blogging While Brown’s blog carnival for February. As a first time attendee of BWB conference last year, I decided to become more involved in the happenings of this organization for people of color online. As many of you are aware, February is Black History Month. It is a time of reflection for African-Americans in particular, as well as Black people throughout the Diaspora. It is often a time where many people talk about the achievements of Black people in America, in addition to appraising how far we have come as a community.
This year in particular, there is a special focus on assessing precisely where we are in our history as a people in this country. 2014 is the 50th anniversary of The Civil Rights Act of 1964, and this watershed moment in American history is already the topic of discussion. Placed within the context of last year’s 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and some of the set backs in voting rights that Supreme Court decisions yielded last year, it is no surprise that such reflection is under way.
However, it is important to recognize that the knowledge of what came before is not just an academic exercise. The uses of studying history are not just to understand the past, but to figure out where we are in contemporary times. Learning from the lived experiences of those who came before us, can keep us grounded in dealing with the day to day realities and encourage us to take the long view on some contemporary matters.
Malcolm X once said: “Of all of our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research.” Keep in mind that this requires learning different aspects of the Black experience, not just the same rehashed lessons of yesteryear. If one only studies what is palatable and acceptable to study, then the possibility of learning and engaging is minimized. The subject becomes predictable, and those who stand to benefit the greatest from the lessons of the past become disinterested.
So here, for the purposes of getting a discussion going about the depth and breadth of Black history beyond what is usually presented, I in collaboration with scholars and Black bloggers with a historical focus present to you the following challenge:
1. Dig Deeper- There are so many under recognized Black historical figures to be rediscovered by people. Search for those stories
2. Relevance- Make it relevant. The teaching of history does not have to be just facts and figures. Keep in mind context and conditions as well.
3. Reaching others- Reach out to others that know, and others that do not.
Yes, Black History is important, but it’s also important to dig a little deeper and find the lesser known figures of Black history. These movements and people’s deserve as much recognition as the greater known personalities and organizations that you are most certain to hear about during the duration of this month.
With that said, I present to you the following blogs from these great contributors:
Stanley Fritz on The Haitian Revolution and Black History-
Shawn Hamilton of Dueling Interests(http://www.duelinginterests.com/) talks about 1960's NAACP activist Robert Williams and "Negroes With Guns"
Malaika Carpenter of In Your Good Shoes(http://inyourgoodshoes.wordpress.com/) on Black women abolitionists Frances Harper and Sarah Redmond.
Leigh Langston of Dangerous Lee on Deanna Brown-Thomas, James Brown's Daughter.
Prof. Karen Johnson on Betsey Stockton, 19th century educator.
Tanya Ndip talks about John B. Russwurm, 19th century Black journalist
Femi Lewis on The Importance of Teaching Black History
Paula Wright on the Gist Settlement of the 1830's
Sylvia Wong-Lewis on Elizabeth Jennings: New York's Rosa Parks With Attitude
Hank Williams on "Poems That Kill: A Brief Look At Black Arts Spoken Word" -
Join other amazing bloggers like these in New York City, June 27-28, 2014 at the 2014 Blogging While Brown Conference. Register Today!