February marks the time we focus on and celebrate black history and heritage during Black History Month. It is also when we celebrate love. This year’s theme is Black Migrations. Between 1916 and 1970, approximately 6 million African-Americans moved from the rural south and southeast to the urban Northwest, Midwest, and West. My family is part of that migration. From Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, my grandparents made their way west in search of greater, better and more. Eons before my grandparents chose to move west there was another, involuntary resettling of black people to America. Slavery. It is a subject that many prefer not to speak of in modern circles. It was a critical, painful occurrence in our history that has shaped the black experience in this country. I am a product of that history. I don’t know which part of the African continent my ancestors began their fateful voyage, but their blood runs warm through my veins today. It is joined with the blood of others on a journey through the ages to get to me. When I was born, my grandmother’s friend (referring to who I resembled) told her I was a ‘duke’s mixture. Since blood from multiple cultures and countries runs through my veins, I think she was right.

Black History Month is celebrated in five countries around the world. It occurs in Canada and the U.S in February, and in October in the Netherlands. Ireland and United Kingdom. It is about much more than slavery and civil rights. It is a study in human resilience, genius, collaboration, contribution, ostracism, affluence, and influence. It is a rich history mostly absent from modern education systems. Sadly, not enough of it is shared or taught. Perhaps if it were, this month would only be a celebration of love.

During Black History Month we are reminded of who we are and where we come from in preparation for the life’s next destinations. When we pay attention, we are granted first-class tickets to continue. The train leaves without us when we don’t. Celebrate the deliciously sweet fruit that is black history this month and all year. Black history is American history. Learn more about it. Discuss it. Share it. Remember, love is an action word.

“Real education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better…”

— Carter G. Woodson

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The PlaygroundBlack History Month: Celebrate Us