By Bobby R. Henry, Sr. – Oh, how could we ever sing God’s song in this wasteland? If I ever forget you, Jerusalem, let my fingers wither and fall off like leaves. Let my tongue swell and turn black if I fail to remember you, If I fail, O dear Jerusalem, to honor you as my greatest. Psalm 137:4-6 The Message
Every time I speak at different schools, especially during Black History Month, I’m reminded of the crucial importance of teaching our history to our children. Regardless of the audience’s grade level, educating them about our complex past is essential for our survival. It’s disheartening to witness the shock and dismay on students’ faces when they first learn about the atrocities of the Middle Passage.
Our history extends beyond slavery to encompass the noble lineage of ancestral kings and queens and the intellectual achievements of scholars from places like the University of Timbuktu.
It’s frustrating to see our children struggle with their identity while Jewish children embrace and learn from their history daily.
Recording Our Black History (OBH) demands vigilant commitment and readiness to make sacrifices. Black newspapers have the right to document OBH due to our sacrifices, but accountability is crucial for sustainability. Those who neglect this duty are as guilty as those who oppose it. As recorders of OBH, it’s comforting to find validation in the Bible.
If we don’t understand our roots, we risk repeating past mistakes. Despite objections that teaching about slavery is irrelevant or confusing, it’s vital for our children to know where they come from. Without this knowledge, they’re adrift, lacking direction like ships without rudders.
Your will to battle for achievement came from knowing where you did not want to be, the insurmountable oppressions and courage from which your heritage sprang; I would like to believe that because you were taught of this driving force in the kidnapped African, you were bound to never ever be less. Always strive to overcome but never forget where you come from and while achieving, educate others to our greatness because of it.
Our history is a great one, and it is still unfolding right before our eyes. The bounty and greatness thereof is yet to be seen; let us not therefore ruin it any more than we already have.
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