Sunday, February 26, 2012
In just two days, we will bid farewell to a month full of celebrating the accomplishments of people of African descent. The kente cloth will be stored, the old Negro Spirituals will be shelved, and the lecturers will shift their focus to what we’ll celebrate next. As grateful as I am for the extra day this month to enjoy the exhibits, theatrical productions, and chorales, 29 days is merely a drop in the bucket. It’s just not enough time to consume the contributions of those African American’s who have changed our nation and even the world.
My passion to instill a sense of self worth, value, and dignity in my children is ever at the forefront of my mind. One of the ways I’ve chosen to do that is by incorporating black history into their everyday lives. My children are greatness in motion and I desire not the validation of social media websites, hip-hop moguls, and the latest pair of sneakers. Those by products, if you will, are temporary and fleeting. However, teaching them from where they came is lasting and will certainly propel them to where they’re going.
In his book, Brainwashed: Dispelling the Myth of Black Inferiority, author Tom Burrell quoted these words spoken by Haki Madhubuti, a nationally known educator, poet, and editor:
“You can’t minimize the importance of cultural knowledge…you cannot build a healthy child – most certainly, he or she will not have a healthy world view – if he or she does not see himself or herself directly involved creatively in the development of civilization, culture, industry, science.”
Upon my return from Egypt in the summer of 2010, a trip that has forever changed my life, I pledged to make the sacrifice of my mother and other ancestors redemptive through my conscious and committed resolution to keep black history alive after Black History Month and all year long.
Here are three ways I’m honoring that pledge:
1. Read a daily black history fact: Dr. Carl B. Mack, the Executive Director of the National Society of Black Engineers, authored Black Heritage Day, the most comprehensive and unique perpetual calendar boasting 365 days of black history. Taking turns, we dive into the life of a phenomenal human being and walk away just a little more enlightened.
2. Visit museums and other points of interest. As I anxiously await the ribbon cutting ceremony in 2015 for the National Museum of African American History and Culture, I make it a point to visit the African Art Museum, the “American I AM” exhibit hosted by Tavis Smiley, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the national mall.
3. Create fun and engaging activities. Grow a sweet potato as you explore the life of George Washington Carver. Take a walk through the woods and imagine it’s the trail of Harriett Tubman. Put on some music and pretend you’re sharing the floor with Sammy Davis, Jr. In so doing, you and your children are sure to understand their lives just a little bit better.
Kimberly K. Parker is the President and CEO of Writing Momma Publishing, LLC (www.writingmomma.com). To date, she has written three books and has helped nine children between the ages of nine and nineteen write and publish books of their own. Leave a comment about this blog below and visit Kimberly’s website at http://www.writingmomma.com/. Kimberly is a professional writer, author, publisher, and blogger living in Maryland with her husband and three children