Black History Month, held each February, is a consecrated time on America’s calendar when we honor the sacrifices of our ancestors: the tireless efforts of women’s rights activists like Sojourner Truth, abolitionists like Frederick Douglass, thought leaders like W.E.B Du Bois, movement shakers like Martin Luther King Jr., and voting rights activists like Fannie Lou Hamer.
These leaders, their names are familiar from Black History Month lessons and tributes, worked over centuries to address the country’s moral failure to value black lives. From the moment that the first blacks were forcibly removed from West Africa and placed on this soil, we have fought for this country to recognize what God has always affirmed: our humanity.
The figures honored during Black History Month have granted us freedom, the ability to vote, and housing and employment legislation promising equal opportunity. Schools are no longer segregated, we are sitting at the same lunch counters and in the same restaurants as our white brothers and sisters, and we are generally living better lives than our ancestors. The significance of these gains cannot be overstated.
While we must remember the sacrifices of those who came before us, we cannot allow memory to dull us to the present reality. In 2015, it’s become all the more important for black people to envision how we will build upon the work of our ancestors. What will our contribution be in a society that continues to struggle with systemic injustice?
Writing for Sojourners, Dominique DuBois Gillard explains how this February marks not only Black History Month, but also Black Future Month:
Black Future Month, a term coined by the new black vanguard, seeks to build upon ...1
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