Black History is Now, part three

This is my third and final post related to our national observation of Black History Month during February.  For the first two, click here and here.

Over at SoulRevision, Kim Moore is taking a new angle on the standard Black History Month profiles:

During Black History Month we spend a lot of time talking about our wonderful black pioneers of the past (MLK, Malcolm X, W.E.B. Du Bois etc), and the paths they’ve paved for us and how they’ve helped shape our future. However, I believe in progression and I feel it’s time that we start talking about what WE are doing, what WE can do and how WE can work together to be great! I also know that there are many other African Americans that have accomplished great things that we don’t highlight. Many times when we highlight African American accomplishments, people feel as though it’s not tangible; meaning these people are held in such high regard that they’re almost untouchable and many have passed on. I can’t recall a time where we actually sat and talked about people, especially young people, who are giving us something to aspire to everyday. I want to highlight the work that young African Americans are doing on a level that we all can relate to.

Her profile on February 18 is of Brittney Greene:

“As an advocate for the black community and with direct emotional connections to the care of my people I decided to name the company Black Positive Image. With all the negativity that surrounded the image of Blacks in America on the television, newspapers and other media outlets I decided to combat this image by providing a social enterprise where people could unite together and become the positive force that our community needs.”

“We support college students through our College Care Program, fight illiteracy and bring the joy of reading through our Home Library Campaign and help spread the stories of the people in our community through our Literary Series  ‘You Don’t Know My Story’. Through our various initiatives we have begun to make a direct impact in the community by actively creating the image we would like to see in the community. The social media aspect of our organization is still very relevant and we will be expanding our initiatives to become the Community Resource Center for various topics and issues in relation to our community.”

In response to Kim’s question, what does being a black woman mean to you?, Brittney said:

“To be is a linking verb by definition, so for me to be Black is linking me to the power in what has been identified as my color. To label an entire race based off the variation in hues of skin and label them as Black, a word that is negative in context in contrast to the purity of the color white may seem fleeting to many; but not my people. In the direct face the negative definition of soiled, wicked, dirty, sullen and a host of other names that have been marked with negativity, to be Black in regards to my people mean none of those things. Even with the filth that surrounds the term Black and how the world may relate to it, we have defined Black in our own terms, beyond the definitions in dictionaries. To be Black is to be defiant, to be non-complying to the unjust impositions that have been placed on us. To be Black links me to an ancestry of perseverance and undoubted self pride. To be Black links me to all that I know and that is proud!

For more, head over to SoulRevision’s Spotlight on Greatness series.

Image via.

About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


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