Where Do I Begin?



It’s the 12th of February which means we are almost halfway through Black History Month and I have to be honest – I still don’t even know where to begin. I have written draft after draft on varying topics and…I have discarded every single one.
Because it hasn’t felt as if it’s enough, because it isn’t enough. So I thought, let’s start here. Let’s start with talking about what it means to talk about Black History Month.
In elementary school I remember progressing from coloring in pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to creating dioramas for our chosen activist (I chose Mary McCloud Bethune, whom I still credit for my interest in teaching).
Middle school consisted of wakeup calls – realizing what the slave trade actually consisted of; realizing the tainted roots of our society; beginning to understand that without the African American narrative, the rest of us would not have had a chance, period.
High school was when black history really started to effect the way I understood our society, my place in said society and just how important civil rights were.
I realized one month is not enough. A black history year is not enough.
Where do I begin?
Black history is a culmination of the most human and inhumane of the human experience. The discussion needs to range from extraordinary people to the daily struggles of yesteryear to now. We need to hit on subtopics (that are whole topics on their own) such as transcendentalism, culture, literature, politics, movements and, well you see where I’m going with this. The list continues to grow everyday as do overall statistics and trailblazers.
Yes, of course it’s remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks but, that means remembering everything about them. Remembering that when they were fighting for the rights we have now, they were considered national enemies. They were arrested for their protesting. Their lives were not glorious at the time; it was all difficult and heart wrenching work. Yet they pushed on with so many of their peers, because they had a true vision and they had true faith in that vision.
Where do I begin?

Well, let’s begin with what we may have been taught inaccurately.
When I was in school I was taught about the first Africans who were kidnapped and brought here. It was not until years later when I learned that those kidnapped persons consisted of people of varying faiths – including Islam.
What were you taught inaccurately?

By: Sobia Siddiqui.


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