The creator of the BECAUSE OF THEM WE CAN movement, Eunique Jones, has this as her mantra: “Children cannot be what they cannot see.” And I agree! You cannot expect a child to be excellent, without then ever seeing what excellence is. Black history is still made daily, and for that reason, we cannot stop.
From the inception of Negro History Week by Dr. Carter J. Woodson, to right now, you have to understand that magnitude of what it is he started. It is through the vessel and tool of education that shows people–especially children!–what they can be and do. For this reason, there is no reason to ever stop teaching Black history. It is through this month long opportunity that we show Black children who they are descended from, and remind them of what they can be.
It is through the opportunity of Black History Month, that I found my heroes. Those heroes are Ida B. Wells Barnett, Queen Hatshepsut and Dorothy Dandridge. The last two I found on my own due to my voracious reading habits.
In Dorothy, I found that Black women have always been talented and hotter than any habanero pepper.
In Queen Hatshepsut, I found that Black women have always run things–and wield power well.
Well, in Ida, who I call my grandmother of the truest sort? I found a woman that looked like she could belong to my family who never let ‘No’ be her final answer. Ever!
Black children need to see both legacy and opportunities set before them and trails yet to be blazed! Black history is essential to the social encouragement and development of Black children. Period. Besides, you never know what will happen! While on this hero’s journey of raising Black children, it is essential for them to know they are not alone. They need to know their dreams are real, valid, and there may still be space to be the first to do that very thing. History is a road map–and when you teach Black children how incredible they really are? This is how you remind them to change the world–because of them we can; because of them we must.
[ images from cleveland.com, amysmartgirls.com and biography.com]