Thoughts on Black History month by Dr. Mia Hardy, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Elgin Community College
A prologue is an introductory or preceding event or development. The “history” referred to in the name of a month acknowledging the contributions of black people in our nation is the prologue for American history.
When I think about black history month, it puts me in a mindset of gratitude for the black souls that were unceremoniously brought to the land we know as America and unknowingly built the foundation for what would become, to many, the greatest nation in modern times.
Before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. could fathom having a dream of unification and equality, there was someone whose dream was being free from the shackles of bondage that would make his dream seem implausible.
Before Dr. Mae Jemison could imagine traveling in space, there were those whose eyes and hearts could only seek the North Star towards freedom.
Before late basketball great Kobe Bryant could leave a legacy of unbelievable athleticism, determination, and stellar fatherhood, there were those whose bodies were commodified for capital they would not gain and whose steadfastness would only prayerfully allow their families to remain intact.
The month that celebrates the accomplishments of blacks in our nation would not be complete without acknowledging and paying proper homage to those who worked under horrid conditions to build a nation and blaze a trail, unbeknownst to them. Not only is the material wealth of our nation largely due to four hundred years of free labor from black slaves, so many elements of symbolic culture that we hold dear are directly impacted by the progeny of former slaves.
While the prologue of blacks in our nation was riddled with inequality, at best, the narrative that ensued features the growth that has blossomed from the roots of slaves’ determination and sacrifice.