I was given the opportunity to be a guest writer and write an article about Black History Month for The Lance (Evangel University’s school newspaper). Here’s what I wrote:

When I think about what makes Black History Month special to me, I remember how far we have come as black people. Black History Month is so important to me because everything that we have been able to overcome as an oppressed people, and it all starts with slavery (the biggest problem we have overcome). Despite the horrific events and deaths due to slavery of the African American community, slavery is the start to Black History Month and the most important event to Black History. How can slavery in all of its horrific events and tragedies be important to the black community? As black people, we built our beliefs and strengths off of what we had to endure during slavery. We became a united people because of slavery. When a black woman was raped by a slaveowner and became pregnant, every other black woman would gather and console her and help her take care of her child. While being chained together on boats and working in the fields together, one slave would begin to sing Negro Spirituals and suddenly every other slave would join in the singing and they knew that even though they might never experience freedom on this side of heaven, they would be alright. Slavery of the African American people continues to influence Black History Month to this day, not only because the effects of slavery can still be seen in the black community; from the way we cook our food to the way we hold funerals but also because every February there is a great emphasis for us to discover our genealogy. As slaves, we given the parts of meat that white folks did not want, the nastiest parts of meat, so we had to season them so much to make them enjoyable. The opportunity to hold a proper funeral was far and few in between, so now we hold longer funerals because we used to not have that luxury. Every Black History Month, more and more black people are discovering their roots through finding out more about their genealogy, discovering how they might be connected to slavery and black history as a whole, and changing the way they celebrate Black History Month. Soon, the end of slavery came which led to greater things for the black community: Juneteenth, Martin Luther King Jr., Alex Haley and his book/movie Roots, the NAACP, and the Black Lives Matter movement. It is because of all this and so much more than I cannot write about everything that makes Black History Month so important in this one article. The greatest thing to remember from this article is that Black History Month is more than just another month for the black community. Black History Month is a month where we set aside special time to remember how far we have come as a black community and to teach those around us about the struggles we were able to overcome. So, this Black History Month, I urge everyone – inside and outside the black community – to not think of it as just another month, but as a celebration to our freedom and to be thankful for those who have paved to way for us to be where we are today. I also challenge every white and non-black person to listen with intentionally and respect when a black person begins to talk about Black History Month, do not try to change the conversation because you feel uncomfortable talking about it – sacrifice your moment of uncomfortableness for the many years that we as black people spent being uncomfortable.

(Original copy is featured above. Article may vary in actual publication.)

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