The Importance Of Black History Month

The Importance Of Black History Month

Leave your privilege at the door and start reading.
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“Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations.”
—Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American female astronaut

The most frustrating thing anyone can hear this month is, "What is Black History Month?" Like many things, not everyone is educated on the importance and the reasons for having a black history month. In recent years there has been unneeded hate towards this idea. I will say this as bluntly as I can EVERY MONTH SHOULD BE DEDICATED TO BLACK HISTORY and don't even get me started on the comments about a white history month. So I ask as you read this leave your privilege at the door and learn something

Black History Month started by Carter G. Woodson in 1926 as "Negro History Week." It wasn't changed to a full month until the year 1976. Carter G. Woodson was a historian who dedicated his career to the field of African American history and lobbied extensively to establish black history month as a nationwide institution. Focusing on providing scholarly journals to schools as a tool to provide education on African American history.

The Iconic cartoon character Betty Boop was inspired by a black jazz singer Esther Jones, otherwise known as Baby Esther. Her trademark vocal style using "boops" and other childlike scat sounds. Although Esther Jone's baby style was one of the first like that other artist used her sound as inspiration which then led to the creation of the popular cartoon icon.

Rosa Parks wasn't the first woman who refused her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. March 2, 1955, a fifteen-year-old girl Claudette Colvin refused her seat. She like Rosa Parks was arrested and thrown in jail, as well as being one of four girls to challenge the segregation law in court. Browder vs. Gayle being the court case that overturned bus segregation laws. Due to Rosa Parks being an adult woman at the time as well as the secretary of the NACCP was believed to be a better icon for the movement than a teenage girl.

It's completely important to learn more this month about black history because it isn't just specifically black history, but history in general. If it weren't for many black inventors such as Dr. Shirley Jackson we wouldn't have had major developments in the creation of caller ID, touchtone telephones, or portable fax. Lewis Latimer who created the carbon filament which is an important component in making lightbulbs work. Otis Boykin who created pacemakers and the development of IBM computers.

There are still so many more influential African American inventors, historians, authors, etc. who have crafted America to how it is today. I urge you to further your education into the importance of this month and why african american history is so vital to our nation.

“In recognizing the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute." —Thurgood Marshall, first African American U.S. Supreme Court member

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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20 Rules Of A Southern Belle

It is more than just biscuits and grits.
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These unwritten rules separate the people that move to the South and were born and raised in the South. If you were born and raised in a small southern town, you either are a southern belle or hope you get to marry one. Their southern charm is hard to dislike and impossible to be taught.

1. Adults are to be answered with "Yes ma’am" and "Yes sir."

Whether it’s your parents, grandparents, or the person that checks you out at the grocery store, always say yes ma’am.

2. Always write a thank you note.

For any and everything. No gesture is too small.

3. Expect a gentleman to hold the door open and pull out your chair.

Chivalry is not dead; you just need to find the right guy.

4. All tea is sweet.

Below the Mason-Dixon Line, tea is made no other way.

5. Don’t be afraid to cook with butter.

I’ve never met a good cook that didn’t giggle a little.

6. “Coke” refers to all sodas.

Here in the south, this means all types of sodas.

7. Pearls go with anything — literally anything

And every southern belle is bound to have at least one good set.

8. "If it’s not moving, monogram it."

9. Pastels are always in fashion.

And they look good on almost everyone.

10. And so is Lilly Pulitzer.

11. Curls, curls and more curls.

The bigger the hair, the closer to Jesus.

12. If you are wearing sandals, your toenails should be done.

13. Never ever ever wear white shoes, pants, dresses, or purses after Labor Day or before Easter.

Brides are the only exception. Yes we actually do follow this rule.

14. Never leave the house without lipstick.

A little mascara and lipstick can work miracles.

15. Always wear white when you walk down the aisle.

Weddings are taken very seriously here in the South, and they should be nothing but traditional.

16. Southern weddings should always be big.

The more bridesmaids the better.

17. Saturdays in the fall are reserved for college football.

Whether you spend it tailgating in that college town or watching the big game from your living room. You can guarantee that all southerner’s eyes will be glued to the game.

18. Sunday is for Jesus and resting.

19. Learn how to take compliments curiously.

20. Have class, always.

Cover Image Credit: Daily Mail

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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