The end of Black History Month is rapidly approaching, which leaves a question: Was it really observed?
Or did you just hear the same stories about the same figures: Martin Luther King Jr. Harriet Tubman. Rosa Parks.
Anyone who has been in America’s public school system knows about slavery, segregation and the half-truth about the Civil Rights Movement.
In schools, Americans learn about lynchings during slavery, but not that the act continued well into segregation,with people of color killed just based on the fact that they were black.
Emmet Till is an example.
Till, a 14-year-old boy, was murdered for no reason other than that a white woman lied to her husband and said he was hitting on her. A mob killed Till and dumped his body in a river. There was no respect paid to him or his family.
In 2017 the woman confessed to lying because she was dying.
Even today, Till’s story is not part of the story we learn in school, I personally had to learn from my parents to even know who he was.
As an African American, anything else beyond that had to be learned from family and passed down generation to generation, to make sure that our history is never forgotten.
My ancestors were taken from their home. That is a fact, but discovering any more than that is difficult. It would take a lot of research to find the specific bloodline I come from, and even then, there isn’t much of a record.
For descendants of slaves, there is a large chance even that personal history has simply been erased.
Black history has been portrayed in recent blockbuster films such as “12 Years A Slave,” “Selma,” 2016’s “Birth of a Nation” etc.
These films show the harsh truth that our educators are afraid to tell us in school, because American History whitewashes Black History.
Many don’t even know that if you go back a couple generations that you find family members who were born slaves, then just talking to grandparents they can probably tell you every monumental step of the civil rights movement.
As a child we learn the story of Dr. King and Rosa Parks.
In 2008, another black figure became the face of the country: Barack Obama.
In the Stockton community an unsung hero is Jeremiah B. Sanderson. He was one of many to fight making sure the black students had education. He was able to get funding for a school he ran in Sacramento, but it was shut down.
That caused a move to Stockton, where he instilled the same determination that he had in Sacramento.
His daughter, Mary Sanderson Grasses was the first black public school teacher in California.