Three years ago while still living in Montana, I came across a section in Essence magazine that caught my eye. Two pages of guide to Black historical sites all over the state of Louisiana. This was perfect timing considering we knew Shreveport, Louisiana would be our next base assignment. I immediately searched the list for Shreveport locations and to my surprise found two of them. One of those locations is the Southern University Museum of Art at Shreveport. I finally had the opportunity to visit this museum last week in celebration of Black history month.Read More
5 Ways To Celebrate Black History Month
Happy Black history month! This year my family and I made the decision to celebrate more Black holidays. For example Juneteenth and Kwanzaa. This also means Black history month and finding ways to honor what this month is about. I sat down and came up with a personal list of ways to celebrate Black history month this year, and realized there are more than likely many more people wondering the exact same thing. This decision lead me to do this post and share with all of my readers.
It’s also important for everyone reading this post to understand you don’t have to be Black to celebrate Black holidays. You don’t have to be Black to learn Black history because Black history is American history. It’s no different than when people of all backgrounds and ethnicities celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, etc. (Although Mexican people don’t really celebrate Cinco de Mayo like you’d think) However, when we celebrate days and/or holidays specifically dedicated to our own culture we take immense pride in it. Especially as Black people where so much of our history has been erased or silenced, it’s important for us to take this time to learn about and take pride in ourselves. Here are five ways you can celebrate Black History Month this year.
We’ve all received the very watered down white washed version of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks in grade school, but have you taken the time to really learn about these individuals and their fight in the struggle? They don’t even bother to teach us about the importance of individuals such as Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey, but this doesn’t mean we can’t learn about them on our own. I recommend each of you to learn, in detail, about a prominent black historical figure. You can even step it up a notch and challenge yourself to research the name and background of a Black historical figure you’ve never heard of before. In this day and age of technology these names are no longer hard to find. 🙂
This may seem trivial to some but there are many of us who understand the importance this simple task. It is important we support each other when we finally receive the movie roles and portrayals we deserve. It is important we see Black excellence in the form of actors, creators, directors, writers etc. Year after year we hear the argument of there not being enough roles for Black people in all areas of film so when we are in them it’s important we support them. I’m not talking about supporting any films with Black people in them (or written by them) either. Movie roles that stereotype type us or make us out to be less than who we are and what we are should never be supported in my opinion.
Look at the success of the Marvel movie, Black Panther, a year later. We were able to see ourselves as the Kings and Queens we know we are. See ourselves as the intelligent and thoughtful people we know we are. We simply saw ourselves. To continue to see ourselves we have to support Black film and film makers.
Black people may be a minority in population but we are the majority in spending. Our buying power is unbelievable but we tend to put our dollars into businesses and systems that don’t support us. Seems counter productive, right? This month, but preferably this year, buy at least one item from a Black owned business. I have a list in my phone of items I want to buy from small Black businesses and plan on buying most if not all of them by the end of this year. For my bank account and husband’s sake I won’t buy them all this month. HA! These are a few of the businesses on my “Black owned to buy” list: Hillman Bookstore, Mahogany Cheers, and African Ancestry. Go check them out!
I touched on this subject at the beginning of this piece. We need to celebrate Juneteenth the same way we celebrate the 4th of July. We need to take the time to learn about Black history the same way we learn other’s history. It is important we celebrate and remember our ancestors and their accomplishments by celebrating their lives. Which means celebrating the days that aren’t marked on the calendar. The same way we celebrate Dr. King we should celebrate brother Malcolm on his birthday. Make sure to mark your calendars for these important days and make it a tradition to so every year. It’ll pass down from generation to generation until it becomes the new norm.
We need to give back. It’s that simple yet we make it so much harder than it needs to be. You do not need to be rich to give back to your community. You need to be caring and determined. Giving back doesn’t always have monetary attachment to it. What God-given talent are you sharing in this life? If you are an artist, volunteer some time to teach children in your local community about art. If you’re good with numbers, teach someone who lacks such knowledge how to balance their finances etc. However, for those of you who prefer to donate money find local organizations that directly benefit a large number of Black people and their advancement. Even if it’s a $10 donation, it’s $10 that will directly benefit the community. I will personally be donating to one of Colin Kaepernick’s #10For10 charities.
*Here’s an added bonus for celebrating Black History Month*
If you have not gotten the opportunity to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. I highly recommend you do. It is such a transformative emotional rollercoaster that leaves you with the idea of exactly how magical we are as a people. The things we have been through as a people yet how we continue to fight and come out on top is nothing short of the magic that is Black people. The museum is 7 floors so be sure you wear your walking shoes and dedicate an entire day to seeing all of the exhibits. We can’t wait to go back and visit ourselves!
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018
Today we celebrate what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 89th birthday. This is one of the few times the actual day of his birthday, and the day observed for his birthday share the same day. I could type a mini book about the accomplishments of Dr. King, but instead I will share the title of a book written by Dr. King in 1967 that has become one of my favorite writings, from him, to date. I will also share a few of my favorite pictures from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. monument in Washington D.C.
This is my favorite book to date written by Dr. King. I asked one of my friends for a book that shows us a more radicalized Dr. King, and this was his suggestion. (Thanks, Mo!) Although I’ve had the book for months, I thought January would be the perfect month to read this book, because of his birthday and to start the year off strong.
This is one of those books that somehow allows you to respect Dr. King’s fight and message even more. The hardest part to digest while reading this book is how applicable his words still are today. We have come a long way and have equally as much ground to cover before seeing true equality in this country. My absolute favorite aspect of this book is getting a non third grade history book white washing of Dr. King and his legacy. So many people who quote Dr. King don’t even realize they stand for and support the complete opposite of everything he fought for. Dr. King was definitely a non-violent man, but every bone in his body was controversial.
We traveled to Washington D.C. in October 2016. Naturally, we were to see Dr. King’s monument and park. There was a guy leaning on the wall while his friend took a picture. Once we walked up closer I noticed what he was doing and thought it was absolutely brilliant. To this day it’s one of my favorite pitcures, especially considering the circus happening in the United States government today. I also couldn’t help but to think how much Dr. King would’ve approved of this message if he were alive to see this foolishness taking place.
I snapped this picture of my husband reading one of the many beautiful Dr. King quotes in the park. There is something so poetic about my Black military husband not only seeing this quote in person, but being able to share the moment with his family. This quote is so important because as Dr. King said himself there are too many people “who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”
Happy birthday, Martin Luther King Jr.
Go See "Get Out" ASAP!
I took myself on a day date to see the highly praised movie, Get Out, yesterday afternoon. It was everything I needed it to be and more. There is no better way to sum the movie up than to say, Jordan Peele, is a social genius. Read More
Hidden Figures: Hidden History
Ever since I saw the movie, Hidden Figures, the first week of January I’ve been beaming with #BlackGirlMagic. There is something beyond inspiring about seeing Black women on the big screen for their brilliance and contributions to this country. Especially in a place like Hollywood where we too often see Black women in movies playing stereotypical roles. I feel it is important to talk about the impact and importance of this movie consistently, but especially during Black History Month. Read More
Malcolm X: 52 Years Later
I have always know about Malcolm X since I was a child, but didn’t really know much beyond him being a strong Black leader, in the same era of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. As I have gotten older, more specifically, the last 5 years, I have grown to LOVE everything about Malcolm X. From his struggle in his adolescent years, to the wise beyond his years man we all knew. It’s hard not to feel in your soul, the entire story behind who Malcolm X is, and how he became Malcolm X in the first place. Read More
"Strange Fruit" – Nina Simone
There isn’t much to say except, it’s February a.k.a Black History Month, and Nina Simone is always the answer. You can feel the chilling anger and hurt in her voice as she sings her own rendition of “Strange Fruit”. She had a voice that was unmatched.Read More
It’s been 3 months since we took our family vacation to Washington D.C. Anyone who has talked to me about this trip knows the highlight was being able to go to the brand new Smithsonian National African American History and Culture. The wait list to get tickets is still months long, and we happened to be there when it was still possible to wait in line, early in the morning for tickets. Read More
Black History Month 2017
Today is February 1st, which means it is officially, Black History Month! Black History Month is one of my favorite times of year to be on social media. Many people on my friends list share awesome facts and information about important Black historical figures and events throughout the month. It’s so nice to get on Facebook and/or Instagram to read educational posts about my own culture and heritage.Read More
Women's March- Helena, MT
Yesterday, I attended the Women’s March in Helena, MT. It was such a beautiful and empowering day. I marched with my friends, Charelle and Stephani, and we had such a great time. One of my favorite parts of the march was seeing how many women, specifically white women, were holding up signs with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter and #NativeLivesMatter. Considering the very small population of Black people in Montana, and the usual mistreatment of Natives, it was beautiful to see so many allies. I hope this causes more allies for both movements and that we will see a march of this size, by women from all over, at the next Black Lives Matter march/protest. My favorite part of the march yesterday was a special Native America n ceremony and song. It was powerful and sent chills through your body. Oh, and did I mention they estimated approximately ten thousand people showed up yesterday? Yeah, it was intense and insane.Read More