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African American History: Which teacher have you chosen?

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As February approaches, your thoughts may turn toward it being African American History Month. Hopefully, you gave more thought to the importance of your heritage over the last year, and next month you will proceed as usual throughout. If you closed the book on history at the end of February 2013, you probably fall in with the majority of others who did too. Why is it so easy to forget to incorporate heritage all year long? It is because African Americans have chosen others to be their teachers:

“Philosophers have long conceded, however, that every man has two educators: 'that which is given to him, and the other that which he gives himself. Of the two kinds the latter is by far the more desirable. Indeed all that is most worthy in man he must work out and conquer for himself. It is that which constitutes our real and best nourishment. What we are merely taught seldom nourishes the mind like that which we teach ourselves.”
Carter G. Woodson, The Mis-Education of the Negro

Those other teachers have taught that memorizing a few facts, putting up a few people with darker color faces, and having a multicultural activity once every February are sufficient. It has only served to minimize the importance that should be placed on your heritage.

Be true

So how can you move forward without allowing your history to be regulated to 28 days? You must allow your better self (as referred to above by Carter G. Woodson) to rise up and answer the clarion call within you. Nourish yourself with true principles essential for African American success:

  • Remain connected to your Divine nature, your ancestors, and your community.
  • Live with integrity, and understand your relationship to others and your mission in this life.

Take action

Choose one or more of the following activities which will awaken the teacher within you who will lead you down paths eternally destined for you to go instead of your living with senses dulled:

  1. Take an interest in learning about your own family history.
  2. Actively share what you learn with your family.
  3. Avoid negative images, portrayals, and opinions about African Americans.
  4. Instead of digesting sensational forms of news, seek to understand current events or how history can sometimes repeat itself.
  5. Learn more about African Americans who have and are currently striving to achieve great things. Serve to advance worthy causes.
  6. Spend one or two hours a month sharing your talents for no charge in your community or interacting with the youth or the elderly.
  7. Make a list of the values taught by your ancestors. Journal about the ways living those values have made a difference in your life.

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