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Black History Month under attack

The fists of challenge
The fists of challenge

“People are trapped in history, and history is trapped in them.” ~James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

Writers are always reading. We read other peoples’ comments, we read to stay abreast of current events, we read to stay in touch with the community, and we read to piece together bits of information in order to understand the bigger picture. Reading also gives one insight into the world view of others.

However, every once in a while one might come across a script that appears more duplicitous and less plausible as the author stretches the imagination to new extremes.

Black conservative, minister, columnist, Chair of the Project 21 National Leadership Network of Black Conservatives, and member of the National Center for Public Policy Research, Mychael Massie, has called for an end to Black History Month, and instead, teach students that black people [are] largely responsible for present-day racism.

Black History month is, “…“an aversion to modernity [which] encourages people to mire themselves in the past” (World Net Daily).

“Public school children will be immersed in a 28-day vat of a factually flawed and at times fictional history of how bad the blacks had it in America, blah, blah, blah.” Massie's critics state that Massie doesn’t bother to cite any of the alleged historical falsehoods.

Not knowing ones' history is like a leaf that didn't know it was part of a tree.” ~Michael Crichton, Timeline

At the start of Black History month each year one indeed might wonder if this celebration is really necessary. Do we need to mark off an entire calendar year for Black History? Part of the logic for celebrating Black History came about because public schools' history classes focused on white history, European History; and the Pilgrims’ History which goes hand in hand with the near extinction of American Indians.

A history of allusions?

Maybe there is no need to recap what the institution of slavery did to divide the United States. Nor is it necessary to review Brown vs. Board of Education. The fact that Detroiter, Viola Luizo was killed in Birmingham, Alabama after transporting black people to register to vote is a moot point (I guess).

Having Federal Troops escort black children to school just in case someone tried to kill them for attempting to get an education holds no merit? The media’s account of demonstrators being attacked by dogs and blasted with water hoses on national television has to be one of the alleged historical falsehoods that Massie proclaims.

Possibly, the digital divide that is a reality in America’s educational system is a new video game called the Racial Digital Divide.

The recent comments by Oakland County’s own L. Brooks Patterson that Detroiters should be in a reservation, and given corn and blankets will soon become part of Michigan’s recent historical fiction.

The Alabama Bus Boycott was a figment of a nation’s imagination and President Barak Obama is the nation’s 44th Black president.

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.” ALDOUS HUXLEY, Collected Essays

We celebrate Black History Month because it would be a human tragedy to ignore, dismiss and disregard all of the suffering endured by those who came before us. We celebrate Black Hisotry Month because my six year old grandson came home from school last week and wanted to know more about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King (MLK) Jr. He wanted to understand why MLK was killed for trying to help people and he wanted to make sure that there were no longer any slaves down south.

Not knowing his history would be a great disservice to him and his generation. The story must be told from generation to generation so that the progress can be charted and past challenges can become building blocks for a group of people to comprehend their accomplishments in the world.

During Christmas, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The retelling of his birth is an account that goes back thousands of years with the end result, hopefully being, a better understanding of trials and tribulations, and more loving relationships among humankind. History matters greatly!

“History is a vast early warning system.” ~Norman Cousins

In Dec., 2011 Massie was recognized as one of the top 20 most influential black Republicans in the nation. Massie was not pleased that the presenters referred to him as a “color-coded Republican.” Since that time he has refused to accept any awards based on race. Our ancestors were recognized because of their greatness and long-suffering and they championed their race as a force to be reckoned with.

Is it possible that Massie refuses to accept his racial heritage and historical identity? All the while denigrating his very existence with no self-identity and a diminished self-esteem? At the same time, we as a people have been tossed about in America from sea to shining sea. We have been emancipated and incapacitated too. We are a people of many hues and countless metaphors. We have our roots in slavery, but our branches are still growing up out of the mire of racism and we hope to traverse where our ancestors only tipped.

We must not forget our history as well as our historical contributions, nor the souls who died for the freedoms that we still seek.

“…the fire in our belly [is] the eternal flame of a thousand ancestors.” ~Robert Brault,

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