This is our list of some of the most successful Black men and women in history that have created a legacy that elevates Black people.
My brothers and sisters, we must empower ourselves. We are mothers, fathers, friends, and spouses. We are strong mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Our ancestors have beaten, murdered, and mistreated. Our legacy was born out of pain but evolved into one of power. Many people view Black people to be worthless, but we have a history full of people who have made a positive impact in this world. We must not forget the Black geniuses and leaders that have elevated their communities.
Black people are storytellers. Whether you live in Africa, the West Indies, America or Great Britain, Black people have life experiences and a unique history. I am sure you even have stories of hardship and success. I believe that you can recall an incident or two when you have been treated poorly, marginalized, dehumanized, or stigmatized based on your race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background. You are not alone. Many Black people have experienced racism and discrimination. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon.
Racism is everywhere.
It is in our schools, workplaces, trains, planes, and even churches. Yes, I have said it. Racism is even in the church. For Black people, especially in Western communities, the process of trying to better your life is difficult. There are so many negative stereotypes surrounding the Black community. For example, a common stereotype about Black people is that we are all criminals. These stereotypes make it difficult to get a job or get into a good school. The development of these stereotypes comes from a long history of oppression against Black people. In short, these stereotypes were encouraged as a way to control how Black people were seen. By controlling the portrayal of Black people, Black people could not find economic or social independence. This means they would always be reliant on the State. Racism is used to maintain power.
As a racial minority, every day brings a new challenge. We are often disrespected, pushed around, and marginalized. This can be discouraging. We want to be strong and press on but it is not as simple as it sounds.
Despite our hardships, being Black is who we are. We cannot and should not change this.
God has created us in his own image and likeness (Genesis 1:27)
Although humans are different on the outside, we all bleed red. When we die, we all go back to the same dirt. We should all practise kindness, empathy, and generosity to people regardless of what they look like. Being Black is good. It comes with a unique perspective on many of life’s wonders. From folktales to music. From fashion and style to history and business. Being Black comes with a creative and adaptable version of how to approach each aspect of life.
The N-word was created by slave masters to dehumanize their slaves. This word is still used today in derogatory contexts to dehumanize Black people. So, why do we as Black people feel comfortable calling our brothers and sisters that word? Even if we are using it in an attempt to reclaim and transform the meaning of the word, we must speak positively to one another. The world has tried to tear us apart, so we must show love to ourselves and use language that reflects unity.
Black people have been taught to tear each other down.
Our history shows us that Black people had to compete with one another for limited opportunities and resources. Today, many of us are privileged to live in a society where we have an abundance of opportunities. We should use the opportunities that we have to elevate our brothers and sisters. We need to reinvest into our community and support one another so that all of us can reach success. If we discourage one another because of spite or jealousy, then what is to stop others from doing the same thing to us?
We are all equal and unique in our own way.
This Black History Month I encourage you to uplift the Black community. Whether it is through making a donation to build schools in South Africa, or shopping at a Black-owned business, try to support your brothers and sisters. Also, never stop learning. Many Western education systems fail to thoroughly teach all students about Black history. Do your part to ensure that your kids, friends, younger brothers or sisters, nieces, and nephews understand the truth and beauty in Black history.
I wanted to share a version of Black history with you that is positive and uplifting. So often, the media wants to share the pain and suffering that Black people experience. However, Black people and Black history are more than pain and suffering. We are vitality and success too. If you ever experience racism, and I truly hope you never have to, never forget the power that is within you. Our pain provides us with purpose and our hardships provide us with wisdom. Never let your pain destroy you and rise above your circumstances.