Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Black History Month

This is the month dedicated to remembering all the accomplishments that Black people made in this country. Too bad it's just one month. I want to definitely take advantage of the opportunity this month and every month. Because of my Black forefathers and mothers I can vote, work, live, and be free in this country. And not just Black people benefitted from the actions of these courageous people, this whole country and every American did too. Did you know that Charles Drew came up with a way to store blood products as plasma? He was a Black man. He did this for all people, not just his own people. And the powers that be had the nerve to say that the blood had to be stored according to race because they didn't want Whites getting blood from Black people. Crazy but true.
Did you know that the first person to reach the North Pole was a Black man? His name was Matthew Henson. Although he was denied credit by his colleague, he did reach the North Pole first.
Did you know that the person who designed the layout for Washington D.C. was a former slave? Frederick Douglass, a Black man did this.
How about this: The first casualty of the Revolutionary War was Crispus Attucks, a Black man.
Bulldogging the sport of steer wrestling was invented by Bill Pickett, who was a Black man.
Do you know who The Black Moses is? She's Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who went on to serve as a scout and spy for the Union Army and to free 300 slaves through harrowing trips back and forth from the South using the Underground Railroad, and she never lost a slave!
Rosa Parks is a hero because she refused to give up her seat to a White person on the bus, leading to the hugely successful bus boycotts that helped to declare segregation on the buses illegal.
George Washington Carver invented over 300 uses for the peanut in his ground-breaking studies on crop rotation that helped to restore fields that were depleted by cotton crops. Another Black man.
I could go on and on about what Black people have done for this country and for all the citizens.
On the radio a couple of weeks ago, there was a man complaining about the fact that Martin Luther King Jr's birthday was celebrated as a holiday because he didn't recognize the significance of what he did for this country. Well, I don't think there was any question about that. Ever heard of the Nobel Peace Prize, the March on Washington, the "I Have A Dream Speech?" Then you can see why he deserved to have a holiday in his honor. He brought to the forefront the fact that a rampant injustice was going on in this country of so-called liberty: American citizens were being treated worse than illegal immigrants. Blacks were considered second class citizens. They had to use separate and often inferior facilities, they were forced to sit at the back of buses when they paid the same fares as Whites, and they were denied the same jobs and opportunities as other American citizens. He fought and died so that there would be liberty for all people, not just Black people. By organizing boycotts, sit-ins and demonstrations, his work led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. So yes, he deserves a day in his honor.
There is so much yet to learn about the history of Black people in this country, and the mere 28 days in February is only a good starting point to learn it.

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