I found my hero in the face of Ida B. Wells Barnett. I found a power in her face that was familiar, not sweet, that reminded me that my head should never be bowed. My life was mind to wield, and when I found out she was a journalist? Oh, that was game over. At that moment, with her eyes like fire, face looking up, I knew what I wanted to become. I wanted to be just like her.
This is the power of knowing Black History Month. This is the power of seeing people that look like you, having done or doing what it is you want to do. And for me, with this passion of knowing, needing to know what it is from the very beginning, it is not lost on me the thing I love to do, would have gotten me killed If I had been born in 1881 or 1781, than 1981. I have always been wary of that, then reverent of the fact that I am Black, woman and literate. This is the power of knowing history, your own history. In knowing who you are, what you can become, you realize that the low place the world wants you to stay in is not for you. As Beyoncé said, “Life is your birthright they left that in the fine print. Take a pen an rewrite it.”
Black history is always going to be needed and necessary. There will always been a need to tell a child they are young, gifted and Black. They have always been gifted, beautiful, needed and necessary. In reminding the children of enslavement, the product of the worst kind of capitalism, they are not defined by history whitewashed to tell them they were less than. They are unseen. They are a nuisance and unnecessary. There is always a need to tell a child who they are, what they can become and there is a trail for them to follow.
History will always light the way, for those brave enough to hold the torch to light and to follow. Oh, yes! There is always a reason to teach a child who they are. How else will the world change unless you are told it can? Black history makes a Black future, which will change the world.