“My Thoughts”: The Real Meaning of Black History Month

It’s that time again in the United States of America where the annual Black History Month observance is now upon the masses of the nation’s ebony citizenry. This is meant to be a celebration of African-Americans, in particular, having respect for and recognition of all of their great past and present ethnic heroes’ and sheroes’ achievements.

This is usually a blissful time when the Motherland’s multi-hued descendants, scattered all over the United States of America, take the time to celebrate with dignity the esteem and honor of being Black and proud. Amidst this joyous occasion, I sometimes wonder whether we, as potentially cognizant African descendant beings, really know what “The Real Meaning of Black History Month” is truly all about.

Like the majority of Afro-conscious minded ebony souls, I tend to reflect upon this celebratory occasion with respect in specifically remembering many of our past greats’ struggles and what they achieved in the face of virulent oppressions. I do this knowing that they sacrificed much for me and you, if you’re of color, to be here doing whatever it is that we’re doing now or have done thus far leading up to this present day Black History Month recognition.

Every day of every year, my mind’s eye has been directed toward looking at and reading things from my personal library collection of Afro-American literary related gems and, hopefully, I’ve gained more wisdom from learning about the awesomeness of African culture with applauding perception. I feel astutely compelled to do this because I’m a committed thinker who takes a Black and proud voyage back in time whenever I authentically read and learn anything our dynamic cultural greats’ endeavors and accomplishments.

Realizing that Black History Month is such an iconic learning mechanism, I’m forever drawn to the ancient African Akan language proverb that, in essence, states, “In order for one to move forward in the future, he or she must know his or her past.” That’s where I’m at during this discrete juncture in observing Black History Month.

I know that Black History Month is only recognized for some “colored” folk in February and, it’s only at that time do they engage in any aspect of celebrating their heritage. Maybe, that’s fine for a lot of Black folk, but I wonder if they get what being Black and our continued (uphill) struggles for freedom, equality and justice are all about.

For me, I’m distinctly different in that I believe wholeheartedly that the study of Black History is a binding celebration upon us that should be observed everyday of the year. You can say that I’m obsessively driven in some strange way to reflect back with imperative reverence and expedient respect to those who gave up so much in order for all African-Americans to carry on the torch of liberation.

That’s important to me, and I know that to some unconcerned and unaware folk in our divided worlds of existences, they may have a problem with liberation speech. Listen. Think carefully about that and, if we look at the masses of Black folks’ overall condition in this country from an unbiased politically correct vantage point of view, you’d have to say honestly that many Black Americans today are lagging behind in so many economic, educational and employment norms, just to name a few, compared to other ethnicities.

The truth is the truth. From Chicago to Memphis and from Charleston to Dallas and the African-American populations-at-large, e.g., are all under siege, big time. All of this hits me with a stark mental commitment to remember what Brothers Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., amongst others, sacrificed and died for.

Black History Month is an omnipresent occasion for me to remember them all, just like the way I remember sisters like Sojourner Truth, Fanny Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks and Elizabeth Freeman (Mum Bett). They all are “our” valiant heroes and sheroes, and what they did can never be fully comprehended with short term memory recognition, during February, which is the shortest month in the Gregorian year.

Being an intense reader, a committed Afro-book collector and a continually avid student of “our-history,” recognizing Black History, then and now, always keeps me on my toes, especially when it comes to presently being informed about what’s going on in the global African worlds of awareness everywhere. I hope you know, as I do, that Black unity is under attack, everywhere, and having no knowledge of self only adds to the dilemmas that some of us face worldwide.

A lot is happening that is dividing the average, ordinary so-called Black generation of today from being united and liberated. Again, I wonder if some of America’s current African-American young folk even know that someone paid a price for them to be here this particular Black History Month.

Also, and if they are knowledgeable of that reality with clarity and understanding, I respectfully ask, because I care, “ What are the majority of some of these young folk planning to do with their present and future lives as goals to enhance our culture and nation for the better? It would help that if these young folk “really” understood with “clarity” and “understanding” that the batons of struggle, leadership and scholarly greatness have been placed in their soon-to-be capable hands and minds in order to do something great with it.

In my view, you can’t be truly liberated when Blacks are killing Blacks in record numbers, year after year, and politically we’re practically clueless living in the dismal ozones of electoral betrayals because all the majority of “poly-trickistians” have sold the African-Americans, once again, down the drains with unfulfilled promises and fictitious vows.

Listen carefully. This Black History Month should be an eye opener for all in Black America. Look at what’s collectively going on around us every day. It’s now or never to “TCB” with a committed purpose and this Black History Month must not be another time of aimless part time, meaningless observances.

No, Black History Month is a serious time to become thoroughly engrossed in the process of loving and respecting each other with a shared commonality of mutual respect for each other. There’s no nation building or unity where there’s killing, ignorance, mis-education and stupidity running amuck among so many of today’s unconcerned Afro populace. Sometimes, I wonder if some of us know that self-awareness is a key to liberation.

Black History Month signals that “Every Black Mind and Life Matters,” not only during the remaining days in this month of February, but also during every other day in the rest of the year. Keep studying and learning. Make the observance of Black History Month a year long activity. These are “My Thoughts” for today.

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The above photo carousel reflects a small sample (400+ Photos) of the many African-Americans/organizations contributing to the dynamism of American culture. If you’d like to send photos that you think should be included in this article send them to ronn@routes-mag.com. Additional photographs can be seen, select below. —Ronnbunn

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Hakim Abdul-Ali

For more than 25 years, Hakim Abdul-Ali has been a columnist and freelance writer for "The Charleston Chronicle" in Charleston SC. He writes columns which deal with spiritual, motivational themes and varied cultural events & activities that pertain to the African-American and African diaspora communities at large.

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For more than 25 years, Hakim Abdul-Ali has been a columnist and freelance writer for "The Charleston Chronicle" in Charleston SC. He writes columns which deal with spiritual, motivational themes and varied cultural events & activities that pertain to the African-American and African diaspora communities at large.

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