History is endless. The designated Black History Month of February is ending, but the study must be endless. I was recently fascinated by a marvelous play, “K.C.’s Dream” at the Dr. Mildred Dalton Henry Elementary School in San Bernardino. It was substance for the soul.
The play highlighted historical personalities such as Harriet Tubman, Ruby Bridges, Madame C.J. Walker, George Washington Carver, Nat King Cole, Claudette Colvin, Sylvia Mendez, Oprah Winfrey, Marian Anderson, Michael Jordan, Hank Aaron, Shirley Chisolm, Barack Obama, Muhammed Ali, and Carter G. Woodson.
Students superbly portrayed these personalities. February Black History activities took place in schools and in the media worldwide. With each presentation a child or adult somewhere stood a little taller.
There is a tremendous need to continue the endless process of learning about the contributions of Black pioneers. There is a need as long as Henry Elementary scholars thirst for knowledge, as long as Cal State University honors local Black Pioneers each year, as long as PAL Center staff and students at three sites study and portray Black heroes and “sheroes”, and as long as schools, churches and organizations everywhere show that pioneers chartered a path that saw challenges rather than roadblocks.
History never dies and neither should the study of facts. We can follow the footsteps of those who were achievers against all odds. Life for them was “no crystal stair”. Their stories of pain and triumph, of strength and struggle, when shared, is motivating, not only for Black people but for the nation. We should value the lessons of our elders as a blueprint for the future. The value is immeasurable. When one realizes the past is connected to the present, is proud, and believes in oneself, it is difficult for naysayers to manipulate the mind.
We should celebrate Black excellence year around until Black History takes its rightful place in American and World History.
Dr. Mildred Dalton Henry
Professor Emeritus, CSUSB