Comforting Words: Black History Month: Some Thoughts

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Black History Month: Some Thoughts

Black History month is largely marked in the United States of America but is gradually becoming a time that others (read as people of other than African-descent) stop and pay attention to the achievements of African-Americans.

In my own country of origin, Jamaica, of the approximately 2.7 million people it would be safe to say that over 70% is visibly of African-descent, i.e., ‘black’. During my early teens and growing up in this majority ‘black’ country, one that has been independent since 1962, I was somewhat less attuned to many of the day to day issues confronting African-Americans.

Certainly, I was aware of historical figures and personalities such as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jnr.'s “I Have A Dream Speech,” is one that my mother would replay on her Phillips component set as if to get inspiration to make it through another day of economic hardship.

I can hardly imagine an African living in the Diaspora who would not have heard about Stokely Carmichael, who was incidentally born on the Caribbean island, Trinidad, or the fiery figure - Malcolm X.

Although my personal history might be somewhat different from African-American children of the 1960’s into the 1970’s, we were connected by the history of our forefathers and foremothers, who were stolen and transported from their homes in Africa.

It is out of this shared experienced of loss and retrieval of place, identity and, to some extent life-enhancing spirit, that over the course of Black History Month, Comforting Words will offer posts, activities and general information on the history and culture of Africans in the Diaspora – whether we call ourselves Black, of African-descent, African-Americans or Jamaican-Canadians or whether we are woman, man, gay or straight.

I do hope you will find this series informative, spirit enhancing, uplifting and yes, educational. If by doing this, the manners (understood as Emily Post did) of one non-African person to one that is of African descent is improved; if the esteem of a child of the African Diaspora is lifted, then my job would have been well done.



Listen to Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" Speech

Photography courtesy of Yahoo Images


Anonymous Betty K said...

Canada and specifically Alberta also designates February as Black History month. Here are a few links to articles where it shows Canada is finally starting to recognize the contributions of African descendents living in Canada.

Thu. Feb. 02, 11:10:00 p.m. MST  
Blogger Claudette said...

Thanks so much Betty for sharing those links and I will most certainly check them out.



Fri. Feb. 03, 06:55:00 a.m. MST  

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