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Black History Month

It's no secret that February is Black History Month and if you didn't know, now you do! From human rights activists, ingenious innovators, talented performers and so so much more, Black people have contributed more to our society than anyone could ever cover in 1 post. But if you're ready to learn, hopefully something new, you're in the right place!


Hello!


And welcome back if you're a frequent flyer!


We talk a lot about TransTape here, naturally, but today is going to be a little bit different.


Today, we're talking about Black History Month.


Why?


Well, for starters it's February.


That's kind of February's thing.


But also because it doesn't seem to be talked about enough.


Many of us probably don't realize how many things in our everyday lives were invented by a Black person.


Things like automatic elevator doors, potato chips, automatic gear shifts in cars, clothes dryers, traffic lights, THE super soaker, THE ice cream scoop, home security systems.


Need I go on? There's plenty more.


My point is, the majority of us probably had no idea that a Black person invented any of those things and that doesn't seem quite right.


Now, does it?


The perfect scoop of ice cream is most certainly not the pinnacle of Black contributions to our society, though.


But still very important, shout out to Alfred L. Cralle for the scoop.


Black History Month


Black people, more often than not, have been at the forefront of human rights activism ever since there has been a need for it.


So.


Forever.


From Civil Rights to Feminism to Gay Rights and the Stonewall Riots, Black people have always been on the front-lines of fighting for equality and that's something we should all be more aware of and probably talk about a lot more often outside of February.


Kinda like this nice little chat we're having right now, except also in all the other 11 months of the year that we have.


There are always the people who question, "why is there a black history month?"


And I think most of us know what usually comes right after that statement.


We have a Black History Month because we are not taught, in more cases than not, Black history.


At all.


Most public school history books and classes, in the US at least, talk about slavery, Martin Luther King Jr, the legal ending of racial segregation and then they usually call it quits after that.


Did you know Ruby Bridges, the first Black girl to go to an all white school, is only 69 years young today?


And I'm not trying to act like I'm highly educated in Black history either, I'm not.

I'm abso-lute-ly still learning and I've probably only scraped the surface of how significant Black history truly is to the world.


But I can also still recognize that there are some serious gaps in our education system.


Among many other systems.

Did you know that Susie King Taylor (1848-1912) was considered to be the first Black teacher in America? She taught freed African-American slaves in a freedom school in Georgia.


Black history month has actually only been around since 1976, where US presidents designated the month of February to Black history.


President Gerald Ford officially recognized Black History Month in 1976, calling upon the public to,“seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”


But back in September of 1915 (only 109 years ago) Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and the prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland founded what's now known as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by Black Americans and other peoples of African descent.


In 1926, following the establishment of ASALH, the organization sponsored a national celebration during the second week of February. This celebration set out to inspire colleges and communities, sparking performances, establishing clubs and encouraging all around celebration around the Black identity.


By the late 1960s, Black history week was becoming Black history month on many college campuses across the nation, in part because of the civil rights movement.


The celebration of Black history has been around longer than some people seem to believe.


It's not something new or trendy, it's very real and necessary.


I don't know about you, but I've learned a few things so far.


Such as, there is no history without Black history.


Educating ourselves on Black history is a vital part of breaking down and recognizing the very system attempting to erase it.


Black lives matter.


A Few Mentions


I would like to say again, I am by no means an expert on black history.


But that doesn't mean I'm not capable of finding my own resources and educating myself.


Just like you're capable of doing!


But even though I'm no pro, I did come prepared with two people I think you should definitely know and learn about.


Take some notes.


February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”


I'm gonna admit, it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I learned about who Audre Lorde was.


And wow, I love her.


She was, and still is, an absolute inspiration to so many people.


Rightfully so.


She was a self-described, "black, lesbian, feminist, socialist, mother, warrior, poet."


At times as a young kid, Audre would recite poetry by memory to express how she felt and that carried into her adult life. She had the ability to express her emotions in ways that made people feel exactly how they needed to in order to understand.


From 1991 until her death in November of 1992, she was actually the New York State Poet laureate. The governor at the time referred to her writing as a, "language that can reach and touch people everywhere."


Her ability to do that throughout all forms of her writing helped unite people together for a greater cause and break down walls some people never even knew existed.


She believed that we weren't separated by our differences, but rather our refusal to acknowledge those differences.


"We speak not of human difference, but of human deviance."


There is so much more to Audre than her poetry though, especially her work with feminism, and you should definitely do some research of your own about her. In fact, you can click her name at the top of this section to go to her Wikipedia page.


Isn't that something?


But for now, here's one of her poems.



August 26, 1918February 24, 2020

Creola is honestly one of the first people that comes to mind when I think about smart people.


She was a mathematician for NASA.


Yes, NASA. And she was one of the first African American scientists to work for them.


She was doing math the hard way, even though she made it look so easy, before all of the helpful things we have now like the super accessible calculator on our smartphones.


Her work was actually responsible for getting the first American men into space and also into orbit.


That's right, without her, we wouldn't have made it to space when we did and I bet you didn't learn about her in school.


And when I say work, I mean manually calculating trajectories, launch windows and emergency return paths for project Mercury and rendezvous paths for trips to the moon between Apollo and command.


I barely understand any of that, fractions or long division and she was doing calculations by hand and sending people to the moon in the 60s.


Creola used very little technology for her work and was often referred to as a, "human computer," due to her expertise with numbers.


In 2015, President Barack Obama awarded Johnson the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


And just like Audre Lorde's name, you can also click on Creola Katherine Johnson's at the beginning of the section, or on the very names you just read, to go to her Wikipedia page to read about her life.


Free knowledge at your fingertips.


Before You Go


Did you learn anything new from reading this?


I hope you did.


Learning about Black history shouldn't end with reading this post or any one post during the month of February once a year.


Like I said in the beginning, no one could cover all of Black people's contributions to society in one post and I'm very far from being an expert at Black history.


And really, we should never stop learning about Black history because it's still being written every single day.


It is our own responsibility to educate ourselves on other people's identities and we should never expect that information to be freely offered to us.


The oppressed should never have to explain their oppression, yet that seems to always be happening. And that's not right.


We should all, myself included, take more time out of our days to learn and understand all of the wonderful people that exist all around us.


There's so much information out there, you just have to be willing to search for it.


The more we understand each other, the happier we are.


And the happier we are, the better the world.


So be the change that you want to see in this world.


You beautifully complex human, you.


Until next time,


Stay awesome,


Stay beautiful,


Stay you.


You are loved and it gets better.


Talk to you soon,


Jamie



Welcome to the cool kids club!


My name is Jamie and I'm a young (ish) transman born and raised in the Hudson Valley of New York state. I started my transition in May of 2017 and since then, I've made it my mission to live unapologetically as myself and spread awareness through my pursuit of happiness. I am the creator and writer of Spilling T blog, a proud affiliate of TransTape and when I'm not outside with the best dog ever or hanging out with my two cats, I make and sell my own beard care products through Buckaroo's Beard Care. I'm always looking for my next adventure and have been skydiving, road-tripping, hiking in the mountains and even served for a short time in the United States Marine Corps. My life has had its fair share of twists and turns and I hope to use those experiences to create helpful and relatable content that may help someone else navigate a difficult time in life.


Beards, Socials, Tape and Writing


Use code FINALLYME10 and Find Your Freedom with TransTape!



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