If you follow my Facebook feed, you might have seen some recent videos and clips on my page that honor the celebration of Black History Month. For this year, I am posting – once a day – a video or a photo or a remembrance of those leaders and innovators and creators and legends who have advanced the message of true equality and unity.
This is important to me. As a high school student, I was exposed to and influenced by the history of those of color; I heard the stories and I read the accounts. Such was the meaning of where we were and how far we’ve traveled in our life’s journey.
The stories told are those of struggle and of triumph. The stories are those of desire and of achievement. We are all on this journey – black and white, all colors of the biological rainbow – and it’s now our chance to share those homages.
Here are some examples that I’ve already posted – or will post – during the #blackhistorymonthchallenge. Oh yeah, use that hashtag when you do this as well.
Here’s a clip of A. Philip Randolph, who helped found one of the first major trade unions for African-American men and women – the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids, helping to increase wages and improve working conditions for those who worked the transcontinental Pullman train cars.
How about remembering Hank Aaron, who faced adversity and resentment and threats as he approached one of the most sacrosanct sports records of all time – Babe Ruth’s career home run total – and passed it with dignity and grace and resolve.
In 1972, New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisolm became the first person of color, man or woman, to seek nomination for President on a major party ticket, when she announced her candidacy – and picked up over 100 delegates at the Democratic National Convention in the process.
Here’s an inspiration – jazz pianist Hazel Scott powering through not one, but two pianos side by side. This is incredible. I can barely play one piano past “Chopsticks,” and she’s tearing through two pianos with plenty of fire.
The world of stock car auto racing has had its share of pioneers – but none can surpass what Wendell Scott did, as the first man of color to win a race in NASCAR’s top driving series. Because of his achievements, today we have Bubba Wallace piloting the great Richard Petty’s iconic #43 chariot.
It was mathematician Katherine Johnson whose calculations helped pioneer the safe flights of astronauts into space. You don’t get to land on the moon without her pickup up the slide ruler first.
In the world of country music, Charley Pride was accepted as a fantastic singer and crooner, no matter the color of his skin.
There are numerous other stories out there – men and women who advanced our world, whether in major leaps or small, significant steps.
Such is the #blackhistorymonthchallenge. Take the steps and be amazed at the efforts.