by Karima Amin
I recently made a comment to someone about this month being Black History Month. In an incredulous tone, that person replied, “Again!?” I was a little shocked as I was speaking to someone who was my age and college-educated who, for some reason, didn’t realize that Black History Month is an annual observance. Also, she had never heard of Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson, “The Father of Black History,” who founded “Negro History Week” in 1926. Initially, the response was lukewarm but the idea gained in popularity over the next five decades and by the 1970’s school administrations, religious institutions, fraternal organizations, city councils, and some state governments embraced the importance of acknowledging the significance of the history of people of African descent. Canada and the UK also celebrate Black History Month. Woodson died in 1950 after distinguishing himself as a historian, journalist, and author, most notably for Mis-Education of the Negro.
I am always encouraged to see my history highlighted and I try, every day, to learn something new that I can share with others. Although Woodson only designated one week for study and celebration, he spent a lifetime establishing the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (1915) and a journal, The Negro History Bulletin (1933) that still exist today.
At least once or twice yearly, Prisoners Are People Too takes the time to acknowledge Black History by inviting a guest speaker or screening a film which invites us to take a look back at where we have been, to have increased understanding of where we stand today. This month we have a film, “The Black Power Mixtape -1967-1975,” which is a documentary compilation of people, events, and ideas that fueled nearly a decade known as the “Black Power Movement.” It goes back in time but includes the voices of contemporary people who were influenced by the history. If you were aware of what Black Americans were experiencing in the 60’s and 70’s, then you need to see this film. You will see that so much of what is going on in this nation now has happened before. If you were a child in the 60’s and 70’s then you need to see this film to know something of the history that was misinterpreted by media, often making the US appear benign and blameless and Blacks appear responsible for their own oppression. This documentary will give you what the typical textbook leaves out. Yesterday’s frustration with the status quo that ignores Black humanity is still with us today. Yesterday’s police brutality and subsequent violence are still with us today. Yesterday’s racism, both overt and covert, are alive and well in the 21st century USA.
Prisoners Are People too will hold it’s next monthly meeting on Monday, February 23, 2015 at the Pratt-Willert Community Center, 422 Pratt Street, in Buffalo, from 7:00- 9:00pm. For more information: Call 716-834-8438; or contact Karima, firstname.lastname@example.org; or BaBa, email@example.com. Visit our website: www.prp2.org and be sure to “like” us on Facebook.
“God has not called us to see through each other, but to see each other through.” (Anonymous)