For so long the history books have excluded our history, and the little that is included is watered down. When I was growing up I always wanted to know more. What I was taught in school about African American history and culture was just not enough for me. It was always briefly touched on during black history month and it usually included slavery, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks. That’s all folks! I wasn’t pleased with that. I knew that the people I came from had to contribute much more to this world and country than what I was being taught in school.
To get answers and to find out the truth I had to ask my parents and grandparents. I listened to them tell their stories about their experiences and I learned to educate myself. I read the autobiography of Malcolm X and was blown away at the life this man lived. I discovered Langston Hughes and to this day and “Harlem” is one of my favorite poems by him. My cousin got me a tape of Duke Ellington’s songs and I would close my eyes and allow the melodies to take me to another world. All very talented amazing African Americans who contributed a lot to our culture, however, I never learned about them in school. Fast forward to 2017, and most of children still are not learning about our culture in school.
What I have realized is that we have to take on that responsibility. It is our job to teach our children the importance of where we come from. We cannot wait for someone else to do it, because it’s not going to happen. As parents and adults we have the responsibility of letting our black youth know that they come from. I bet half of them don’t even realize that we come from kings, queens, mathematicians, entrepreneurs, inventors, and so much more.
We have to let the younger generation know that they come from an amazing race of people. There is so much more to our history than slavery, racism, and discrimination. Yes that is a big part of our story, but it’s certainly not all of it. Today I challenge you to begin the journey of educating our youth to understand that we have a rich history that they need to know.
Leena is a Midwestern girl that believes in being and speaking positivity in her life. She enjoys writing, being a mommy, and most of all being a child of God and a black queen.