Welcome to Love Blog Challenge 2018! This is a monthly blog link-up (it feels more like a blog party to me) through the entire month of February. Brita Long is the host and if you haven’t checked out her Christian feminist blog, you’re missing out. I’d guess that most of you reading here would like Brita’s blog (BelleBrita.com). I’ll introduce her and your cohosts below.
I’ll be cohosting the Love Blog Challenge for four days but there are prompts every week day so click around and explore what everyone else has to say! Brita has a more thorough introductory post here.
Today is Day 6 and we’re talking about Celebration!
As cohosts, we select our preferred topics to write about in advance. I cannot remember, for my LIFE, what I would have wanted to write regarding celebrations. So today you will find me offering my thoughts on another celebration in February that has been at the forefront of my mind lately: Black History Month.
Valentine’s Day is fun, but I don’t get entirely thrilled about it. Pink is not my favorite color, and even as a married woman and a Christian, love is not something I feel qualified to talk about. Neither am I particularly good at offering advice on ways to celebrate the lovey-dovey holiday; I don’t know what me and my husband are doing this year either!
My Thoughts on Celebrating Black History Month
Black History Month sneaked up on me and I’ve been trying to pay attention. This is hard when I don’t consume very much media or digital content. It’s easy for the month to pass me by.
I feel this is a time in our country where a majority of citizens are left feeling the opposite of loved. My black friends, mentors, pastors, and peers have expressed over and over that they feel chronically misunderstood and repeatedly underrepresented.
So, in the name of LOVE, for all people, cultures and colors, I wanted to write today’s post about celebrating Black History Month. These are my personal opinions (duh) and I’ll be the first to admit I’m still learning and growing. Keep that in mind as you read, and please comment below if you have thoughts to share!
Where did Black History Month come from?
This year was struck anew by Black History Month. This is the first year I’ve been in the country as it starts. Maybe that’s why I feel like I hadn’t really given it serious thought in a while. I noticed ads on TV, crafted announcement boards at my workplace, and more, all touting the different achievements of blacks in the past decades.
At first that bothered me, because I’ve been learning a lot of the more painful history. Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation have been heavy on my mind. Even the cultural sites I visited in West Africa haunt me; The Door of No Return where thousands of slaves were boarded onto ships is a place where my feet dug into the sand. I looked out over the water where the slave ships would have waited for human cargo. I stood in the shell of military buildings that housed humans that had been forcefully removed from homes.
When I saw the achievements of black individuals on TV, or heard on the radio, I couldn’t help but feel like focusing on the positive was a way of avoiding the weight of the negative. I did a little research to learn more about Black History Month.
Black History Month is in February so that it coincides with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded an organization in 1915 dedicated to celebrating achievements by black Americans and they dedicated a week in February for this purpose. In 1976, president Gerald Ford expanded the time of honor to a month-long celebration of “the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”
But Why Devote a Month Just for Blacks?
Some may argue that this month can be more divisive than unifying. Some argue that it further separates one race from another, rather than encouraging all of us to embrace our shared history of human beings. I have never been bothered by a month just for black history. As a Latina with Caucasian skin, I have all the privilege of being white but I also have people of color in my family. I grew up in a very urban, lower-income area and I see those struggling there and the barriers up against them in a personal way.
I think it’s vital to celebrate individual cultures because we are unique. I have three sisters. We have tons of similarities, but we are so different. Each year, in March, September, October and December we celebrate separate birthdays. We were all born on different days, with different circumstances and challenges. We could celebrate on January 1st every year to honor our mother’s gift of life to all four of us. No one chooses to do that. Individuality is special and important and celebrating one does not decrease the honor of another.
How This Month Elevates Black History
I’ll return to my original question to myself: What is the point of Black History Month? What am I, as a Caucasian supposed to do with it? How do my brothers and sisters of color feel about it? Those two questions alone could be entire blog posts each. In fact, there is already a mountain written on those topics. After asking a few friends, my understanding is that this month is a special time to remember the ways blacks contributed to this country. It’s a time to note and celebrate the achievements that many don’t know about.
Everyone’s heard of Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, but that doesn’t mean that black history is getting a fair share. I read this article from NPR that explains how much information is missing in the majority of educational textbooks on the reality of slavery in America. The article explains that textbooks tend to gloss over the painful points and instead ” …celebrate the heroes who escaped slavery long before we explain to children what slavery was.” Some of these textbooks include only a page of “history” about the reality of life as a slave.
Ways to Celebrate and Acknowledge Black History
It doesn’t take much. You can learn a lot in only 10 minutes of Internet research.
- Just Google it. Articles abound on the importance of the month and ways to learn more or get involved.
- Ask your friends how they celebrate black history month. It’s just like asking how someone enjoys celebrating their birthday 🙂 You learn about them and what is important to them. Asking about someone makes them feel noticed and heard.
- Take note of local organizations and what they are doing.
- Sign up for something like the PushBlack bot within the Facebook Messenger app to get quick and easy highlights.
I appreciate anyone who read my thoughts on this topic! Especially if you came over to read Love Blog Challenge posts. I know this is not the typical topic for the month of February, but I had it on my mind! Here is a summary of all the articles I linked to above, for your convenience.
Meet Your 2018 Love Blog Challenge Hosts
Ivanna is a registered nurse who loves expressing her creative side. She enjoys thrifting, learning about sustainable living, and anything purple. She writes on Provocative Joy about living unconventionally, and loves to inspire people to realize their potential to be world-changers.
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Brita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.
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Charlene is a 20 something wife and fur-mama living in Portland, Oregon. She’s a follower of Christ, watcher of SciFi, reader of fantasy, singer of show tunes, and lover of her husband! She uses her blog, Enduring All Things to help couples build a marriage that will endure whatever comes their way.
TWITTER // INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // PINTEREST // BLOGLOVIN