What does Black History Month Actually Mean?


As a child, I had the opportunity to connect and learn more about people that looked liked me. As I got older the slogans became “make black history month, EVERYDAY”. Some people actually did and some forgot that February is still Black History Month. As I look at my dusty passport and Papa Doc book that I am currently reading, what does Black History Month in America mean to a Black travelling womanist?

Context

In high school, I remember asking my white teachers, why couldn’t we learn about “Africa” or Black people period! One teacher finally admitted, I realize it is not fair but what are you going to do? For just a second,  I could stop banging my head against the wall, because the administration finally realized, there was a problem.  The other spectrum was the Rastafarian and the Hebrew Israelites (that I could not relate to) telling me to be the QUEEN that I was meant to be! Ahhh, but as a young teenage girl, what did that even mean (especially when these men seemed to be hitting on me)?

Transition

College was such a great time for me to experiment and learn how I could transform a month into a year. But wait, what did that mean? Did I have to vow to go all natural? Did I have to name every Black ruler from the beginning of time? Did I have to pledge to a Black sorority? Or did I have to become a five percenter? I navigated and had the opportunity to be exposed to the Black experience in a city that had so much history.  I left college, unsure of the future, but confident of the values that were important for my future.

Full Circle

I take pride in sharing the travel experiences of Black women, in sharing contemporary views of Haiti and learning about cultures where people of color have settled and the influence has migration contemporary cultural practices. I love Being and I don’t need a tshirt, but it is nice to know that there is one.  I love knowing that someone thought it was important for generations to have access to place where I could come and continually learn more about who I am in a museum. I do not need to live in the museum, but I am so proud that I have a choice of museums (there could always be more!) to visit and that some exists!

How did I turn a month into a year? I realized my family and I were talking about the Black experience and my parents got into the conversation and shared their experiences. These conversations happen many times and not just in February.  I am always learning about Black History and I feel that I have tried to instill that trait, continuous learning, into my cousins. It will be interesting to view their transition as they prepare to leave for college in a few months.  I am certain that our conversations are just starting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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~ by travelling womanists on February 4, 2011.

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