Nia White | Staff Writer
As we look back and honor our ancestors, this year is like no other considering the pandemic and events in the Black community over the past year. We must still find a way to honor those who came before us and the lives we have lost along the way. Over the past 15 years the Black community has seen changes in all aspects of life, particularly through government with the inauguration of the first Black President Barack Obama in 2008 and the inauguration of first Black female Vice President Kamala Harris this year.
During this time we have also seen the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement in response to the murders of Trayvon Martin, Philando Castille, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. These events all contribute to the establishment of Black history and will be remembered in the years to come.
There are so many things that have made life difficult for Black people in America.
“I learned [about] systemic racism, and how the institution of slavery and growth of America because of it has caused a gap in Black and African American lives to other racial counterparts. These things need to be talked about more because they are important for change and not repeating but to also recognize that we are more [than] slavery, the Civil Rights Movement, and Martin Luther King Jr.,” said Ashley Iglehart, a graduating senior and history major.
As Black people in America we must take a step back from our current knowledge and examine what has come before us to lead us to where we are now.
“The easy part is finding the answers, but the hard part is knowing the right question,” said Sadiki Muhammad, a junior history major.
This year’s Black History Month celebration will be different than any other because of our circumstances. In order to honor the past, acknowledge our roots and remember the lives we have lost, we need to adjust. There will not be the same demonstrations, events or exhibits at museums. We must take matters into our own hands and do our own recognition of the past. Iglehart suggests watching films such as, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Fruitvale Station,” “Red Tails,” “The Loving Story,” “Just Mercy” and “When They See Us.”
Many students tend to utilize social media accounts as a way of learning more about particular topics, especially Black history. Social media provides an easier way to not only access certain information via reliable accounts, but it also allows for the permeation of such information.
“On Instagram I would recommend @wearepushblack, @blackhistory and @blackhistoryintwominutes,” Muhuammad said.
.Reading books is also a way to increase your knowledge of Black history. Books are the oldest form of knowledge and the most reliable. We can learn about our history through literature by reading books such as “Bound In Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century, They Were Her Property: White Women as Slave Owners in the American South and Beloved,” said Cassie Herring, graduating senior and English major.
Reading to gain knowledge is very important especially in today’s society where so much is digitized. “Reading historical books is imperative. Whether you choose to further your understanding of a historical event, figure, civilization, religion or political system, it all benefits the world view that we continue to shape and form over time,” said Barry Jones, a graduating senior and English major.
Now is the time for Black people in America to catch up on our history, so we can further our own knowledge and educate the next generation. “I think learning history at our home is easier than ever before. Now, we are fortunate to have books, documentaries, docuseries, social media profiles, websites [and] articles to explore our roots,” Muhammad said. With history at our fingertips, we can honor the past and keep it from repeating itself.