Black History Month. Something we don't hear enough about if you ask me. And if we do we tend to think about the obvious parts of "Black History." MLK, Fredrick Douglas, Jesse Jackson, Abe Lincoln, the Civil Rights movement. But there are so many stories of the real black history in this country that we never hear.
This morning during my drive time, my usual listening to the NPR show Tell Me More, a fantastic talk show hosted by an incredible woman, Michel Martin, revealed the truth of what black history really is. Stories of slaves who were abused and tortured. Black soldiers in the Union Army who took up arms to defeat the southern culture that objectified them and stole their flesh and blood from their very arms.
Writer Kai Wright read the narratives of two such histories this morning... and I was faced with the dirty truth that is covered by the fanfare of our "liberated" society. I came to understand how quickly the grand concepts of the Emancipation Proclamation swept the country at the time of the Civil War, and how those high-minded ideals were no match for the human condition of what what happening on the ground in Mississippi, Missouri, and other states in the deep south.
We all need to hear the facts of life that even though freed, slaves lived in refugee camps, had very little than each other, and that what the system left them with was nothing short of hell. Families split apart. People so badly abused that they could never walk or talk or give birth again.
The sadness of our history is that we ever let this happen in a country founded on the concept that "all men are created equal." I want to honor the strength of a people who, after being ripped from the breast of their Mother Africa, and being beaten into a state of near soul-obliteration, have persevered and have risen above the ignorance of their oppressors.
As ashamed as I am about the ugliness of black history, I am hopeful for the black future.