by Tiara K. Williams, Founder – Reel Righteous Entertainment
One of my new year’s resolutions was to learn more about our black experience. I’ve challenged myself to take one day, of each week to research facts from our black history.
I’m determined to examine the plights, accomplishments and lingering inquisitions of our ancestry. I often find myself wondering if my 10th-great grandmother had dreams and hopes for me while she lived as a slave? How did her life affect my life directly?
There is profound instruction intertwined in our history books and as I constantly search for substance in life, I’m indifferent about seeking advice from a singer who used to sell drugs, or idolizing some “reality-star” who promotes promiscuity on television for ratings.
Our black narratives tell a much deeper story. I’m inspired by the passion, audaciousness and dedication. Our history speaks of relentless, uncompromising people that fought, believed and rebelled, overcoming tremendous difficulty despite their circumstances. Those are the mentors worth idolizing.
My research included documentaries of African American inventors, philosophers, writers and entrepreneurs. I learned of civil rights movements, the creation of gas masks, bleach, soap, and traffic signals. I was surprised to learn that it was a black man who patented the original remnants of the digital computer.
Our contributions to this world have been unprecedented. Amazing. Remarkable. Phenomenal. Unparallel. Unfortunately, this information is not readily taught in our communities or anywhere else, unless you attend a program that specializes in African American literature. But, before we can tie our shoes we’re schooled of the voyages of Christopher Columbus, and quizzed on the accomplishments of George Washington. These are the “important” historical facts in our society.
I’ve started to evaluate how the ignorance of black history must be affecting the youth in our communities. I suspect that young black boys and girls conclude that they are not part of a greater legacy nor are they meant to do anything monumental. This rings true especially if they do not have positive role models in their immediate family.
But, what if young black men in Chicago linked themselves to their prolific descendants? Would they kill each other in the streets? I wonder if black women saw themselves as nieces of Harriet Tubman would they still post half-naked pictures of themselves on social sites for likes and comments?
I’m not criticizing anyone for his or her personal choices. I just wonder if we knew better, would we do better? If we REALLY knew our history would our thoughts, ideas, or goals be more innovatory?
I say, yes! But, I’ll keep you posted. I’m currently recreating the wheel.