This past Wednesday began the month of February. In America February is a month to celebrate African American history and culture as well as and as celebrating love during St. Valentine’s Day. Ironically St. Valentine’s Day is named after a Christian martyr in addition February 14, 1929 there was a massacre of 9 members of the mob. However, for this blog I am focusing on the love of heritage and culture of my ancestors, those who survived an in-human journey shackled and chained in slave ships during the Middle Passage to infant country of the United States. Also there are those who were indigenous people of this continent slain for their land.
I am the product of proud people who believed in the importance of education. They understood that in order to move forward it was necessary to gain as much knowledge as possible. It was not merely important to work hard each day but to be educated and to educate. My great-grandfather owned a massive amount of land; he and my great-grandmother provided food to those less fortunate. My great-grandmother in part from the Native American tribe of the Choctaw understood the land and how it worked. She often gave food to neighbors black and white, race did not matter to her but making certain people were fed was her primary concern.
Uniquely, my great-grandfather was one of the first people within his county of Clarendon in South Carolina to own a Ford Model T. They were Christian church going people and taught their children the importance of the church in addition to family. Some of my great-grandparents children attended college and became educators rising to the level of school principals. With the growth of generations their children’s children pursued college educations. So for me as a child it was never a question of would I attend college but where I would attend college. I am proud to be a third generation college graduate.
It is ingrained in my DNA the importance of my heritage; and to know from whence I come. I know that everyone doesn’t have the same economic means nor higher education, however, I believe that should not stop one from growing as a person. Most things in life that we seek require some struggle and effort. The best things in life may be free but the things that help you sustain life require work. This month as the United States takes time to focus on the accomplishments of African Americans, I look to myself to continue making history and make my ancestors dreams today’s reality. I am a proud person born of proud people and I know that greatness is my birthright.