It has been said that if we don’t learn from our past, we are bound to repeat it.
February has been designated as Black History Month. It is a time to reflect and refocus on the accomplishments and contributions made by many African-Americans. However, over the years I have discovered that some people have a problem with dedicating an entire month to black history. I’ve heard people make comments such as why we don’t have a White History Month or a Latino month and so on.
I’m not going to address all that. I have my opinion, but my opinion can be biased since I am African-American. I’ve lived long enough to have seen and experienced inequality and injustice. I’ve live through the end of segregation and the problems of integration. I’m proud of who I am and I’m thankful for the civil rights movement. But I want you to understand that Black History Month is not or was not instituted to remind us of the harshness of slavery and oppression. I believe this month is a time to educate people on the contributions and accomplishments made by many great African-Americans that many have not heard about. Many things are not written in our history books. In fact, Liberty County has a rich African-American history. There are some unsung heroes here in our county that will probably never make the history book that we use in our public schools.
I believe we study history to learn from it. When we look back at our history, there is much more to learn about than the evils of slavery and the horrors of discrimination. We can learn that our forefathers trusted and depended on God to see them through. We can learn how to preserve through faith. Our history would never be complete without God. It was our devotion to God that helped us overcome hardships and inequality. Our history should teach us to love and that love conquers all.
Our history should teach us and encourage us to dream because dreams come true. You see many of the contributions made by African-Americans were not recorded in the history books for public education, but our forefathers did what they had to do to make a difference in this country even though some of them did not get the credit for the contributions they made at the time. I just believe that most of them understood that, in due time, they would reap if they fainted not.
Our young people need to know that there was a price to pay for the freedom they enjoy, and many African-Americans contribute to securing that freedom. We have had African-Americans fighting in every war our country has fought. We have had African-Americans do more than play sports and entertain people. No matter what field you name, African-Americans have made contributions. This should inspire our young people to be all that they can be, and they can do it through hard work and getting a quality education.
Our history teaches us that our past does not dictate our future. Our history should teach us that we can create a fair America where we can live in peace and harmony.
History should not foster hate, but it should promote love and understanding. History should keep us from making the same mistakes and steer us in the right direction. Our history should teach us how to trust in God. For without God, we can do nothing. So, as we celebrate the contributions made by African-Americans this month, let us see the hand of God moving in history. We need to go forward and backward.
Remember, if we don’t learn from our past, we are bound to repeat it.
Dr. Jackson is the pastor of the St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.