Black History Month 2021

 min read
April 12, 2022

I'm following along Rachel Cargle's #DoTheWork prompt's for Black History Month. I hope you do, too.


I'll be collecting my learnings here. I encourage you to do more research through these as well.

DAY TWELVE: Combahee River Collective

DAY ELEVEN: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Reflection: It's disgusting that a Black man fighting for his basic human rights was thrown in jail for "incitement to riot" whereas Tr*mp still has not been arrested for inciting a riot that overtook the CAPITOL.

DAY TEN: National Association of Colored Women

Reflection: It's incredible how much these Black women were able to accomplish given the amount of discrimination, racism, and resistance they must have faced. It must have taken unthinkable courage and bravery and resilience not only to be a free Black woman during that time but to be a political renegade as they were.

DAY NINE: Black Panther 10 Point Program

Reflection: I was taught that Malcom X and the Black Panthers were a violent group with unreasonable demands. That the way they went about anti-racism and civil rights was wrong because it was violent. Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. were always compared and MLK was idealized. Watching this video, it is clear that what I was taught was white supremacist in nature, too. There is NOTHING remotely ridiculous or unreasonable about this 10 Point Program. Black people asking for basic human rights. This video combined with things I learned today from the chapter "What if I don't like Al Shaqton" of Ijeoma Oluo's So You Want To Talk About Race corroborate the fact that our education system is, too, flawed and racist.

DAY EIGHT: Birmingham's Children's Crusade

Reflection: A few thoughts. First: The (sometimes naive) hope children have can change everything. Second: I'm finding myself thinking about how much abuse and trauma Black and other POC folks have had to endure due to white supremacy and this country's inability to address it. Or even admit it. There is something absolutely sick about siccing dogs and 100lb/sq in fire hoses on children. I'm reflecting on the word 'FREEDOM' and how we might throw it around flippantly, especially during the pandemic. But 'FREEDOM' has been a century's old fight - one not yet won - for Black folks in this country and world. 'FREEDOM' must carry a vastly different weight. 

DAY SEVEN: Black National Anthem

Reflection: Unfortunately the first YouTube search result was the NFL's video of Alicia Keys singing the anthem (which I will not be including here). I found it incredibly disrespectful that they included a clip of Colin Kaepernick in it given the poor (racist) treatment he's recieved from the NFL.

DAY SIX: Chitlin Circuit

Reflection: I wonder how many small community hubs for Black folks faded due to integration and what that means for creating these invaluable affinity spaces, especially due to the lack of true equality & true integration following the policy changes.

  • Due to segregation, Black musicians and artists coiuldn't go to the same clubs and party scenes and instead following the Chitlin Circuit to perform
  • Hopkinsville ("Hop town") was the place to be
  • It was unsafe for Black folks to stop at other Kentucky towns along the way so that contributed to the traffic in Hop town

DAY FIVE: Black Wall Street

Reflection: I did not learn about this in school. The only time I've ever heard the words "Tulsa Massacre" was during the summer of 2020. It is clear that the schooling system

  • 1200 homes destroyed, 35 blocks burned (for 2 days the city burned)
  • Some reports initially only reported white casualities when in reality some 300 Black folks were murdered (but people think this is a vast understatement now)
  • We have the photos of the massacre because they were POSTCARDS used to further white supremacist propaganda and kept as souvenirs because they destroyed all the other records of the massacre, including hiding the bodies of the victims (we still don't even know where the bodies of the victims are)

DAY FOUR: Black cowboys

Reflection: I know I'm repeating myself but I had no idea that there were Black cowboys. I had always associated cowboys with whiteness and white supremacy...

DAY THREE: The Emancipation Compensation Act and the ways that even with the "abolishment of slavery" white privilege prevailed.

Reflection: The USA sucks and Lincoln is a racist piece of crap. In grade school, I was taught that "Lincoln was the guy who freed the slaves" and that he was someone who then valued Black lives and equality but this was far from the truth. See excerpt in second link. This is appalling. 

DAY TWO: Igbo landing

Reflection: I did not learn about how the transatlantic slave trade was stopped in 1800 with a buffer period until 1807 that elicited a frenzy to steal & enslave as many Africans as possible from Africa. This resulted in some of the worst conditions as the enslavers tried to crowd as many stolen African people onto ships. I also learned that 'chattel' slavery specifically denotes slavery in which a person is legally rendered as personal property of another person -- so, pretty much all of the slavery involving enslaved, stolen Africans. I feel grateful to now know that Igbo Landing's story is so valuable in Black History as a symbol of resistance and powerful agency amidst the horrors of slavery.

DAY ONE: Middle passage ceremonies and the port maker's project

Reflection: I did not learn about the middle passage in my upbringing. I was taught about slavery, but I think the horrific-ness of it all was left out or glazed over, especially in claiming that it was "over now." After watching 13th and learning that slavery itself is not truly over, this oversight and lack of depth in the education seems even more egregious. 

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