Greetings and Salutations
Yesterday was another mark in history. The story was written and we cannot go back and make any changes to what has been done. This year marks 40 years since a United States President designated February as Black History Month. This event grew out of “Negro History Week,” which was the brain child of author and historian Carter G. Woodson. Woodson felt it necessary to celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of those of African descent who made their contribution to society with their talents and resources, yet, were not often recognized. It was also a reference point for those individuals to never forget their heritage.
It is good to set aside time to remember those who have come before us and carved out pathways in history for those of us now to reap the benefits. Yet we must remember that our history did not start on the banks of the Hatchie River with Mr. Elbert Williams when his lifeless, dead, brutalized body was removed to be identified by his young frightened wife. No, our history did not begin in the tent camps when hundreds of African Americans were forced off their farm lands into the streets. Nor did our history begin when gun violence took a young man’s life and created tension tearing communities apart. We have forgotten where our history began. Therefore, ensuing the need for a month to be set aside solely designated to be a celebratory month, not a month of mockery and shame. A month deemed to highlight our excellence and our contributions, not only to our community and our country, yet to the world!
Some 40 years later, from 1976 when the first president observed Black History month, history is still being made daily; from the First African American President of the United States, to Brownsville, TN electing its first African American Mayor. As we preach about UNITY in our community, HEALING in our streets, we must condition our hearts and our minds to know that everyone is a contributor to history. Regardless if you feel that you are in the shadows, or a person that makes decisions, you contribute to history. That means every day you have a choice as to what is being written about you. We can produce negative history by slamming progress, committing crimes (blue and white collar), or simply not living up to our fullest possible potential. Or we can produce positive history by being an upright standup citizen that makes good decisions daily. Making a difference not only in our lives but in the lives of our children’s children; leaving a legacy for them to build upon.
How will your story read? What can you do today to leave a positive mark on history? How will you be remembered? Our future is unknown, and perhaps uncertain, however we can make a choice today to make what is said about us in stories told be great. Our history is your history. You simply cannot tell the story of Brownsville without both. We celebrate Black history month in February yet we live it every day.