Now that Valentine’s day is past and all the ‘red’ has cleared from our eyes, can we take a moment to talk Black History Month? Yes, February is Black History Month and the celebration started in 1929, championed by Woodson Carter, a black scholar who realized that black history was largely excluded from American history. #Sigh
Now, you may be wondering: wetin concern Nigeria with Black History Month? Is it not just for African Americans in the abroad? So yeah, let’s talk.
Nigeria is the most populous black nation on earth. So, if African Americans whose ancestors were taken from our shores during the trans-Atlantic slave trade are celebrating their freedom, tenacity, courage and their contribution to society despite the evil conditions their ancestors survived, then we should celebrate with them, too. It’s that simple.
In addition, before Nollywood became popular, most of us grew up on African American movies and music. Hip-hop culture has directly influenced our dressing, our music and movies over the past years.
Also, when we travel outside West Africa, the same systemic racism that African Americans deal with daily, awaits us.
We can celebrate Black History Month is by educating ourselves about what it means to be black in America, and facts about African Americans. There are a lot of us who did not learn history in primary and secondary school. We know very little about the slave trade and what it took for African Americans to fight slavery, and racism. We don’t even know much about the colonialism that happened to our (great)grandparents.
This year let us spend time this month to learn Black History. There are a number of Black History Month events on social media, as well as webinars. You can also find black history books and articles on the internet.
Here are some random things I learned about African American history
The first woman is the U.S to become a self-made millionaire is a black woman named Madam C.J walker. There’s a movie about her on Netflix.
Did you know that a black man, Frederick McKinley Jones, came up with the idea for refrigerated trucks in the 1940s? He designed a portable air-cooling unit for trucks carrying perishable food. Today, cooling trucks carry more than food. They also transport blood, special medicines and vaccines.
Have you ever been sick and needed blood in the hospital? Thanks to Charles Drew, who invented of a method of separating and storing plasma, allowing it to be dehydrated and stored.
Go read and share what you discovered with us. Happy Black History Month!