During this Black History Month, I challenge all of us to better know, understand, and appreciate the contributions made by Black Americans. Here is my question: Will we commit to dive deeper into the ocean of new ideas and inventions, and into the impact made by Black people? I encourage us all to reach beyond the shallow pool of Black history that only acknowledges the usual histories of the usual names that we memorize each year.
And while those contributions are important and noteworthy, in learning these stories we are only dabbling our toes at the shoreline of the great ocean of Black history. The deeper dive will allow bottomless exploration; it will recover the names of those whose inventions, writings, and studies have created this great America and the rest of the world as well. These are men and women who challenged the status quo and stood tall in the midst of the storm.
Here are just a few Black history-makers who are largely unrecognized:
- Jane Bolin, the nation’s first Black woman judge
- Alice Allison Dunnigan, the first African-American White House correspondent
- Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat nine months before Rosa Parks. She was 15 years old
- Ivan Van Sertima, author of the powerful book, They Came before Columbus
I encourage you to take a deeper dive and discover more history that has gone unrecognized.
COSEBOC believes in the power and importance of knowing, understanding, and celebrating Black history. Our mantra, which we instill in the boys and young men that we are honored to serve is, “When you know your story, you know your power.” In essence, knowledge of history builds knowledge of self. Our mission remains the affirmative social, emotional, cultural, and academic development of boys and young men of color.
Please consider making a donation to COSEBOC during Black History Month. Your donation will be the mission fuel for the next generation of Black history-makers.