Another reason I support Black History Month is because I believe too many Americans are ignorant of history, period. Everyone can benefit by studying history. It helps us realize where we’ve been, and gives us greater perspective on our current circumstances. It instills in us a greater appreciation for our blessings, and yes, it can be highly inspirational.
It is my sincere hope that all Americans — not just blacks — will learn about the courageous and proud Tuskegee Airmen, whose valiant efforts played a key role in support of the Allies in World War II, and the Black Warriors of the U.S. Army, 92nd Division, America’s first all-black infantry unit, who fought triumphantly against the Germans and Italians in the closing days of World War II. Think about it: These courageous service men fought for a country that denied their full rights as human beings. It would be 20 long years until the civil rights movement would start being codified into law.
Rather than devour the latest tabloid trash about some nefarious rapper or NBA star, I wish young African Americans would learn about men like Benjamin Banneker, the first black astronomer, who taught himself astronomy and advance mathematics. He became so accomplished, he was able to accurately predict solar and lunar eclipses. Thomas Jefferson was so impressed by Banneker’s mechanical and mathematical abilities, he recommended Banneker for the surveying team that laid out Washington, D.C.
Or how about Dr. Charles Richard Drew, who set up the first blood bank and performed important research in blood transfusions and blood storage. And then there’s Otis Boykin, who invented one of the earliest resisters for use in the circuitry of computers, televisions, and radios.
The list goes on, and it goes without saying that those of us who love Motown music and appreciate the work of many other black artists, entertainers, scholars, actors, and writers, have had our lives greatly enriched.
Yes, it would do all of us some good to learn about significant black Americans who have played key roles in making this such a great country. My thanks and appreciation go out to all such individuals.