The National Museum of African American History and Culture begins telling the story of African American history in the belly of a slave ship. It is critically important to understand that history. The museum is amazing, I mean utterly overwhelming in the breadth of of knowledge it presents and its unparalleled collection of artifacts. But, the museum’s purpose is to present black history within the context of American history. The 1619 Project, whether you agree with the conclusions it presented or not, did a good job of exploring how instrumental slavery was to the development of the United States, from its economic power to its culture and way of life today. That is all important history to understand. It is American history. Books have been written outlining where our classroom education is lacking in the telling of American history. Much of it remains untold in our current educational systems. It is often distorted and shaped into stories of select heroes designed to make White people feel OK, even proud, about the current state of things. So, I implore you to seek out additional knowledge from sources like the NMAAHC so you can have a more complete understanding of American history. But wait, there’s more:
“True Black History doesn’t start when White people gained global power by profiting off of black bodies.” – The Ghetto Activist
We’re not doing a good job of teaching accurate Black history within the context of American history. But, why stop there? We have World history classes don’t we? Why are we always limiting the scope of Black history to the American experience? As if the origin story of Black people is a tale of being born in bondage until the “good” White people overthrew the “bad” White people and freed them. That’s crap! The origin story of Black people should not be viewed through the lens of whiteness. You know the phrase, “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s nobody around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Well if a Black person existed and there wasn’t a White person around to influence that existence, they damn sure still existed!
The quote above is from a blog post on The Ghetto Activist. Hopefully this post got you thinking and curious enough to check out the content on their blog. The post that I’ve linked to hints at some big things coming for Black History Month. So seriously, go check it out.