As with every year, I remain somewhat sad that we still need to celebrate Black History Month in the United States; but we have overwhelming evidence that racism is sadly alive and well and living in every state. Hopefully, SJFA has celebrated many folks who have been relegated to corners of history and are rarely celebrated. I have to confess what a pleasure it was to celebrate so many African Americans who have dedicated their lives to civil rights and social justice, including many who continue to do so today.
We have no further to look than the case of the killing of Jordan Davis, a black youth, and Michael Dunn, the white man who killed him. One of my favorite writers, Leonard Pitts, of the Miami Herald does a great job of unpacking this horrific case and how it reflects racism on a national scale.
Sadly, the Paula Deen debacle just gave further proof of the current climate of racism and misogyny and why we desperate need Black History Month. Now Deen has compared herself to Michael Sam — sadly, you read that correctly.
Some of my personal favorites this month were:
Michael Sam–what a lovely portrait of courage and good energy.
Rosetta Tharpe–was another favorite. Sadly, she remains somewhat unknown and yet her contribution to the world and to the world of music was nothing less than profound.
Alice Walker will always be a favorite of mine and I hope everyone will get to know her through her poetry and literature.
I hope you got the chance to learn about some new people and were able to rejoice in names you already recognized. Chime in and let me know who were some of your favorites and tell me some people you would like me to add to the list. I suppose one of the “take-aways” from this series is that until we see African Americans being represented in all history books and American culture values Black History, we will continue to have the need for Black History Month.