Black History Month Remixed
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
What do I mean by the title, “Black History Month Remixed”, you are probably thinking. I’m glad you asked. What I mean is let’s all think beyond all of the facts and the very notable black people that brought all cultures where they are currently and think about all the ways we can experience black history.
What if instead of going to another seminar or reading another book, we went to a place and saw first hand how black history has impacted all of our lives causing everything we do and use to be related? For instance, what if we island hopped in the Caribbean with the purpose of eating the local cuisine, drinking the local rum (or wine) and immersing in the local culture?
What if instead of going to that annual event we always go to, we go to Atlanta and experience what it’s like to be immersed in an environment that revels in it’s black community. After all, the black community is Atlanta. Atlanta is a Mecca for blacks in America to go and become immersed in arts and culture that reflects who they are, not who society wants them to be.
What if we visit Harlem and see first hand where The Harlem Renaissance awakened black consciousness and shaped the black mind to embrace black beauty through the arts. What if we saw a performance by The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and fell in love with ballet all over again.
What if we go to Ghana and visit the Slave Castles on the coast and see where the history of a people was interrupted by slavery and we face the horrors of slavery in the face and declared victory. What if we discover the beauty of the people of West Africa and we come to admire their strength and resilience.
What if we attend The National Black Theater Festivals Bi-Annual Festival hosted in Winston-Salem, NC and experience theater through new eyes. What if we visit St. Philips Moravian Church, the oldest surviving black church in North Carolina and learn about why it’s still so important even today.
What if by getting outside of our comfort zones we discover who we are as a nation and we learn more than we ever could have from a book. I’m not saying don’t continue to go to museums that celebrate black artists, however, what I am saying is be intentional in also going to museums that highlight the history of being black in the United States. I am saying let’s watch documentaries that detail the black experience in America from a black perspective and let’s share those experiences with our friends.
What I hope all Americans will do is consider visiting all of the historic sites that are so interwoven with each other that it is impossible to get the entire picture clearly without the consideration of the other perspective and that they are left demanding more.
What if we appreciated all that makes us unique and beautiful and strong as a nation and we celebrated those differences. Every. Single. Day.