As another Black History Month comes to an end, people learned about and honored the safe figures who helped the progression of black people around the world.
There’s a lot of focus on civil rights activists such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Nelson Mandela. Not to devalue their achievements, but black history is usually white washed to show history wasn’t horrible toward blacks and other ethnic groups in the world.
This has to stop.
In order to know true black history around the world, the entire story must be told, which includes historical figures who might not fit the mold of an outstanding figure as history books have defined.
Millions of African people were kidnapped and forced on boats up to 600 at time by Portugal and later by other European countries from the 15th century. Slaves were chained and shackled in close proximity, surrounded by human waste and vermin. Disease set in and many enslaved died before land was reached and were thrown into the ocean.
The number of dead slaves thrown overboard was so great that sharks’ feeding patterns changed to the routes of the ships. It was a brutal experience to break the will, mind and spirit of people captured. Some slaves managed to fight the ship crew and chose death rather than bondage for life.
North and South America spread Africans to the other side of the globe. Cut off from their culture, language and heritage, further brutality took place with whips, maiming and psychological and sexual torture until total submission to their new masters. After that, some were ripped from their families for profit at the auction block and never seen again.
That pain produced warriors who vowed to free their people by any means.
Nat Turner was a slave whose owner let him learn how to read and write. Turner and an estimated 56 slaves held a revolt that struck fear in plantations across the South. When he was finally caught and executed, strict laws were made to ensure nothing like that happened again. But he gave his life so other slaves could have hope.
Haiti had the only successful slave revolt in history led by Toussaint Louverture who fought with rebel freedmen and the Spanish to stop Napoleon from taking over the island and re-establishing plantation slavery.
Other heroes in black history didn’t have to use violence to inspire people and each rebelled in their own way to bring change.
Marcus Garvey was an orator and Pan Africanist who taught fellow blacks about group economics and how it could hurt white supremacy in the grand scheme of things by being self sufficient.
Author, screenplay writer and activist James Baldwin used his works of art to speak about the plight of the blacks in America and traveled internationally to spread through TV and radio the word how this country will never heal if the oppressors choose to turn a blind eye and not face the demons of the past.
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was inspired by boxing champion Muhammad Ali to stand for what you believe. Ali used his platform to show that black athletes can be witty and intelligent when answering questions.
Ali was stripped of his titles and jailed for speaking out against the Vietnam War and refusing to participate in the military draft. He told the press his reason was that the war that he’s fighting is here in America and the Vietcong never wronged his people.
Black history is American history.
And if all black history was taught throughout the year, then the need of a concentrated dose for 28 days wouldn’t be needed.